Steppe: meaning and climate

Steppe: meaning and climate

There steppe, unlike the tundra and taiga, it is also present in some areas of our Italy, especially within the Sicily region. In other parts of the world this environment is certainly much more developed, for example inCentral-Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It has characteristics that will sound familiar to us, perhaps due to a trip we have made or the many films and documentaries that have such environments as their background.

Steppe: meaning

To climates with cold winters and hot summers and with little rainfall, often corresponds the presence of a sort of prairie which is the steppe, almost devoid of trees and bushes of medium or large size, at the most enriched, from the point of view of vegetation, by grasses and herbs. This type of vegetation, and environment in general, can be encountered where a continental climate reigns, certainly not where summers are very rainy.

Russian steppe

The Russian derives the word steppe means dry plain, and in this country it covers a large swath of territory. In general it borders the boreal forest which grows further south, where it rains more, when rainfall begins to run low, woods and forests do not survive and this remains grassy prairie.

In Russia the steppe extends into the Ciscaucasian areas, between Ukraine and Kazakhstan, in southern Siberia, arriving on the borders with Kazakhstan and China, up to Manchuria.

Strange to say but the soil of this type of environment has proved to be particularly fertile so in Russia, as in other countries with similar climatic characteristics, there has been a real agricultural exploitation. There is a term to define soils with these characteristics, in Russian, “černozëm”, black earth, black because it is rich in organic substance.

Siberian steppe

Siberia, like others areas of Russia, hosts the steppe and in this specific case, it is "Caressed" by the Burian, an icy wind blowing from NE or E-NE during the winter season, even going to bring cold towards the Urals and the Sarmatic plains.

Burian, or even Buran, is a Russian term that also defines snowstorms, certainly not rare in these parts. Typical of Burian, therefore of Siberia, is the phenomenon of the "Scaccianeve" that makes snow whirlwinds rise almost by magic of the wind.

In addition to Russia, and in particular in Siberia, there are steppes also in other areas, those far from the oceans and with a continental climate or in the North American prairie, in Patagonia, smaller also in Hungary, Anatolia and central New Zealand.

In Europe, proceeding to India, we can traverse subtropical steppes, similar ones are also found in North Africa, South Africa, North America, Chile, in northern Argentina (the pampas) and in Australia, in a strip that surrounds the great deserts to the south.

Steppe: animals

Apart from "The Wolf of the steppe”Excellent book by Herman Hesse of which I recommend reading to everyone, in this type of environment and climate we find other more or less interesting animals of this mysterious and fascinating creature protagonist of the book. I refer to the various rodents, insects, reptiles, marmots, hamsters, weasels that are at ease in the steppes. Occasionally even some grazing animals, in less arid areas.

Steppe: climate

Occupies territories at the center of continenti for which the typical climate of the steppe is continental. This means high temperature variations, even going from + 40 ° C to - 40 ° C, then hot summers and cold winters, with an average rainfall level of 250-500 mm of rain, or snow, depending on where we are. With this kind of weather forecast it is clear that such areas are the kingdom of grasses, at most, and of some resistant shrub, no trees are seen except some near rivers and lakes.

Steppe: photo

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Video: Geography Ch 20 - Temperate Continental Steppe type Climate (July 2021).