In GCSE Geography students will look at some of the varying climates on planet Earth. This quiz looks in particular at the extreme climate of the tundra, found in the Arctic Circle and some mountain tops.
Tundras are one of the Earth’s most extreme climates. Their combination of cold and dry conditions mean few species are able to survive the harsh environment of a tundra. Found in the Arctic Circle and on top of mountains, tundras are cold places where rainfall is rare and limited and snow is present throughout the winter and often part way into the summer.
Trees are rare in a tundra though cushion plants might survive in the depressions of rock. Summer warmth together with rare rainfall can bring out a wash of summer flowers. In the Arctic Circle the summer growing season is normally only 50-60 days, when the Sun shines 24 hours a day. All the species that have adapted to live in the tundra are extremely sensitive to changing climatic conditions.
The foundation of this ecosystem is permafrost up to 450m deep. Only melting in the summer to form shallow bogs and pools, this ground is solid and impossible for the roots of most plants to penetrate.
The specific characteristics of the Tundra are:
Reptiles and amphibians are rare in the tundra because of the extreme cold, and mammals normally hibernate or migrate south to survive the winter. Most bird species migrate to avoid the worst of the winter weather. All species attempt to reproduce and raise their young during the extremely short summer season.