Subarctic climate characteristics, precipitation, air masses

The subarctic climate is characterized by low temperatures, long winters, meager precipitation and, in general, unattractive living conditions for life. However, unlike the Arctic climate, there is summer here. In its hottest period, the air can warm up to +15 degrees.

Characterization of the subarctic climate

The area with this type of climate undergoes significant changes in air temperature depending on the time of year. In winter, the thermometer column can drop to45 degrees and below. Moreover, strong frosts can dominate several months. In summer, the air warms up to 12-15 degrees above zero.

Severe frosts are relatively easily tolerated by a person, due to low humidity. In the subarctic climate, precipitation is an infrequent phenomenon. On average, about 350-400 mm falls here per year. Compared to warmer areas, this value is very small.

It is impossible not to note the dependence of the amount of precipitation on the height of a particular territory above sea level. The higher the terrain, the more rains spill on it. Thus, mountains located in the subarctic climate receive much more precipitation than plains and hollows.

Vegetation in the subarctic climate

Not all plants are capable of surviving a long winter with frosts below 40 degrees and a short summer. Therefore, territories with a subarctic climate are distinguished by limited flora. There are no rich forests and, especially, meadows with high herbs. However, the total number of species is quite high. Mosses, yagel, lichens, berries, grasses prevail from plants. In the summer, they give the main vitamin component in the diet of deer and other herbivores.


Reindeer moss


Forests are based on coniferous trees. Testertype forests, quite thick and dark. In some territories, a dwarf birch is represented instead of coniferous breeds. The growth of trees is very slow and possible only in a limited period of time during a short summer warming.

Dwarf birch

Due to the specifics of the subarctic climate in the territories with its influence, full-fledged agricultural activity is impossible. To obtain fresh vegetables and fruits, it is necessary to use artificial structures with heating and lighting.

The animal world of the subarctic climate

Areas under the influence of the subarctic climate do not differ in a variety of animals and birds. Typical inhabitants of these territories are Lemming, ordinary arctic fox, ermine, wolf, northern deer, polar owl, white partridge.


Ordinary arctic fox




Polar owl

White partridge

The number of individual types depends directly on the weather conditions. Moreover, thanks to the food chain, fluctuations in the number of animals affects the number of others.

A striking example is the lack of eggs in the polar owl during a decrease in the number of lemmings. This happens, then that these rodents form the basis of the diet of this predatory bird.

Places on Earth with a subarctic climate

This type of climate is widespread on the planet and affects many countries. The largest areas are located in Eurasia and Canada. Also, the zone of the subarctic climate includes separate areas of the United States, Germany, Romania, Scotland, Mongolia and even China.

The distribution of territories in accordance with the climate prevailing on them has two common schemes Alisov and Keppen. Based on them, the boundaries of the territories have some difference. However, regardless of this division, the subarctic climate always acts in the zones of the tundra, permafrost, or the subpolar taiga.

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