Geography - The Arctic Tundra is located in the northern hemisphere of the earth.
The latitudinal range is 75° N to 60° N.

arctic map
arctic map

It begins at the North Pole and ends at the Arctic Circle (an imaginary line on maps). The Arctic circle also includes the Mountain ranges of northern Alaska,USA.
The two types of tundra are referred to as
1. Alpine tundra (mountain tundra) - Alpine Tundras are found on mountains all over the world. Trees cannot grow here due to such high altitudes,cold weather conditions and the ground is frozen (permafrost).
  • growing season is about 180 days

external image alpine-tundra475.jpg
2. Arctic tundra (high latitude tundra) - In the Arctic soil is always frozen, so large pools of water forms on top of the ground. Arctic Tundras are found in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • growing season lasts for only 50 to 60 days


external image alaskatundra3.jpg

Tundra Soils
A distinctive feature is a layer of permafrost, or permanently frozen soil , it is found 1-2 meters below the surface.
The arctic ground is usually frozen or snow covered, has shrubs,mosses,grasses.
There is a very short growing season and only plants with shallow root systems are able to grow.

Land Formation -
The types of different land formations by the power of freezing water: pingos and polygons..
Pingos are hills which are formed by ponds of water that were trapped under permafrost. Every year, as the ponds thaw and then freeze, the hill above the ground grows taller and taller. They can grow up to 150 feet (50 meters) tall.
external image PingoUpperEskerdalenApril2001.jpg

Polygons are geometric land shapes that are between 10 – 100 feet (3 – 30 meters) wide and are outlined by cracks that are filled with water. These cracks can deepen and widen forming streams and (sometimes) a shallow pond.
external image 1372.jpg.800x600_q90.jpg


Climate-
The climate of the Tundra is so cold it's impossible for trees to grow, which is why the Tundra biome looks similar to the prairies, except frozen.
On average the temperature is -20 to -30 F.
The short summer lasts only 6 to 10 weeks.
It never gets any warmer than 45 or 50 F.
The precipitation is six to ten inches a year including melted snow.


Soil- The soil in the tundra is poor in nutrients and has low amounts of vegetation. There is an under layer of soil called permafrost which remains completely frozen at all times and allows little room for deep rooting plants and trees.The plants that survive the frozen landscapes are extremely resilient, and their roots are close to the surface of the hard soil to intake the little amount of water that falls on the ground.

Decomposers -You will find bugs and insects like carrion beetles and flies with maggot larvae that break down dead animals. Nematodes, or round worms, are also found in the Arctic.


Decomposition-Because of the cold climate ,decomposition can be slow ,and its takes bacteria in the arctic longer to decompose