Geography Notes: Steppe Climatic Type

By Abhishek Jain |Updated : May 25th, 2022

'Climate and its classification' is an important topic of Climatology which needs to be done for both preliminary and main examinations. Every year, 3-5 questions can be expected from this topic. Herewith, we will start with one type of climate in one write up. In this article, we will extensively discuss the Steppe Climate type which is also known as Temperate Continental Climate.

Steppe Climate Type: Temperate Continental Climate

Climate (Temperature & Precipitation)

  • Climate is continental with extremes of temperature.
  • Summers are very warm in North America.
  • Winters are very cold in the continental steppes of Eurasia.
  • In the Southern hemisphere, the steppe type of climate is never severe because of the moderating effects of oceans.
  • The great annual range of temperature.
  • There is a tremendous difference between the annual temperature range of the northern and southern hemispheres because of continentality.
  • Annual precipitation is light about 20 inches, varies from 10 to 30 inches according to location.
  • June and July are the months of heaviest rainfall.
  • Occasional depressions of Westerlies bring little precipitation and in the form of snow, in Winters.
  • In the Southern hemisphere, annual precipitation is more because of maritime influence.

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Distribution

  • They lie in interiors of continents, bordering deserts and away from the Mediterranean region.
  • Placed under the Westerly wind belt.
  • In the northern hemisphere, grasslands are entirely continental and extensive.
  • In Eurasia, they are called Steppes stretched from shores of the Black sea eastwards to foothills of the Altai Mountains.
  • Grasslands are known by different names as given below:

Region

Grassland

Hungary and plains of Manchuria

Pustaz

North America

Prairies

Argentina and Uruguay

Pampas

Northern South Africa

Bush-Veld (more tropical)

Southern South Africa

High Veld (more Temperate)

Murray-Darling basin of Australia

Downs

New Zealand

Canterbury

Vegetation & Wildlife

  • Steppes are practically treeless and grasses are much shorter.
  • Long Prairie grass is tall, fresh and nutritious. They are found in regions like Russian Ukraine and some areas of Asiatic Steppes.
  • Short Steppe type of grass prevails in continental interiors of Asia.
  • Temperate grasslands vary in their appearance with seasons.
  • Towards equator, steppe grass becomes shorter and sparser, till it merges into the desert with thorny scrub.
  • With an increase in precipitation polewards, it gives rise to wooded steppes.

Major Tribes

  • Kirghiz, Kazakhs, Kalmuk in Asiatic Steppes, Red Indians in North America. 

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