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Köppen Climate Classification System

Steppe Biome - Dry Midlatitude Climate (BS)

steppeThe Steppe Biome is a dry, cold, grassland that is found in all of the continents except Australia and Antarctica. It is mostly found in the USA, Mongolia, Siberia, Tibet and China. There isn't much humidity in the air because Steppe is located away from the ocean and close to mountain barriers.

The Steppe biome is usually found between the desert and the forest. If it got more rain, it would become a forest. If it got less rain, it would become a desert. The average rainfall is 10-30 inches per year. But in May, June, and August, the Steppe can get up to 4-5 inches a month.

There are many plants in Steppe. The main ones are different grasses. The grasses are separated into 3 different groups, depending on how much rain they get. The tall grasses grow up to 4 1/2 feet because they live closer to the forest. The short grasses can be less than 1 1/2 feet. They are closer to the dessert. 1 1/2 feet is a small amount, considering that people don't cut the grasses. The last group is the mixed grasses. They grow 2-3 feet high and get 15-20 inches of rain per year.

Very few people live in the Steppe climate because it's only grass and it has very few other traits. Farmers would have a hard time growing crops because the soil is so poor and its so cold. There is also a lot of wind in the Steppe because there are few trees.

Steppe has warm summers and really cold winters. There is often a lot of snow in the northern Steppes. All the Steppes experience long droughts and violent winds. Sometimes the summers are so hot that the grasses catch on fire. That is more dangerous then usual because the grass is so dry that it spreads quickly.

A lot of the animals that live in Steppe are grazing animals, such as rabbits, mice, antelopes, horses, etc. Smaller animals have little defense from predators. Since it is such an open environment and predators can find animals fast, they either form herds or make burrows. There are many endangered animals on the Steppe. More and more people are trying to protect them.

A true natural grassland is becoming harder and harder to find because people are taking them over. They are plowing the grass for farming and digging holes in search of oil. The Steppe biome is becoming endangered, just like the animals.

by Mary Elizabeth v. N. 2000


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