The tundra is a biome of low-growing plants that cannot grow higher than the snow depth. It is found in the northernmost land masses of North America, Europe, and Asia. Alpine tundra, at the tops of tall mountains, is found on nearly all continents with mountains that range above 10,000 feet altitude. Soils are often rocky and poor. Permafrost occurs in the northern tundras where the soil is permanently frozen, except for the surface during the summer. Temperatures are mild during the summer and the growing season is short, often less than 10 weeks. Winters are brutally cold with blowing snow and ice. The winds are desiccatingly dry and destroy most exposed vegetation. The northern tundras have low sunlight availability while alpine tundras may have the opposite, being closer to the equator. Rainfall is low, with annual totals usually less than 10 inches (25 cm). Major producers include small succulent (thick-leaved) plants, often resembling cacti. Small plants of the aster, figwort, and pea family are common. Animals include insects, elk, caribou, grizzly bear, goats, many birds, and rodents, such as marmots.
|Quick Annual Stats:|
|Temperature||0°F to 50°F|
|Rainfall||10 inches or less|
|Dewpoint||summer: > 50°F, winter < 50°F|
|Soil||poor and rocky|