- Polar climate
Regions with a polar climate are characterized by a lack of warm summers (specifically, no month having an average temperature of 10 °C or higher).
The tundra covers over 20% of the earth. The sun shines 24 hours in the summer, and barely shines at all in the winter (see
Polar climates result in the absence of
trees in such places, which may also be covered with glaciers or a permanent or semi-permanent layer of ice.
On Earth, the only continent where the extreme (EF -- ice cap) polar climate is predominant is
Antarctica. All but a few isolated coastal areas on the island of Greenlandalso have the extreme EF polar climate. Such coastal regions of Antarctica and Greenland that do not have permanent ice sheets have "only" the less extreme tundra (ET) climates. The northernmost part of the Eurasian land mass, from the extreme northeastern coast of Scandinaviaand eastwards to the Bering Strait, large areas of northern Siberiaand Northern Icelandhave tundra climate as well. Large areas in northern Canadaand northern Alaskahave tundra climate, changing to ice cap climate in the most northern parts of Canada. Southernmost South America ( Tierra del Fuegowhere it abuts the Drake Passageand such subantarctic islands such as the South Shetland Islandsand the Falkland Islandshave ET, or tundra climates of slight thermal range in which no month is as warm as 10°C. These subantarctic lowlands are to be found more equatorward than the coastal tundras of the Arctic basin.
In other parts of the world, many
mountains have a climate where no month having an average temperature of 10 °C or higher, but as this is due to elevation, this climate is referred to as Alpine climate. Polar climates have also been observed on other planets, such as Mars, which has noticeable ice caps on both poles.
Climate of the Arctic
Climate of Antarctica
* [http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/soa2006/ NOAA State of the Arctic Report 2006]
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