The Subarctic is a region in the
Northern Hemisphereimmediately south of the true Arcticand covering much of Alaska, Canadaand Siberia, the north of Scandinavia, northern Mongoliaand the Chinese province of Heilongjiang. Generally, subarctic regions fall between 50°N and 70°N latitude, depending on local climates.
Climate and soils
Monthly temperatures are above 10 °C for at least one and at most three months of the year. Precipitation tends to be low due to the low moisture content of the cold air. Precipitation is typically greater in warmer months, with a summer maximum ranging from moderate in
North Americato extreme in the Russian Far East. Except in the wettest areas, glaciers are largely absent because of the lack of winter precipitation; in the wettest areas, however, glaciers tend to be very abundant and Pleistocene glaciationcovered even the lowest elevations. Soils of the subarctic are generally very acidiclargely because of the influence of the vegetation both in the taiga and in peaty bogs, which tends to acidify the soil, as well as the extreme ease with which leaching of nutrients takes place even in the most heavily glaciated regions. The dominant soil orders are Spodosolsand further north Gelisols.
Subarctic regions are often characterized by
taigaforest vegetation, though where winters are relatively mild, as in northern Norway, broadleaf forest may occur - though in some cases soils remain too saturated almost throughout the year to sustain "any" treegrowth and the dominant vegetation is a peaty herbland dominated by grasses and sedges. Typically, there are only a few species of large terrestrial mammals in the subarctic regions, the most important being moose("Alces alces"), bears, reindeer"Rangifer tarandus", and the wolf("Canis lupus"). Agricultureis mainly limited to animal husbandry, though in some areas barleycan be grown. Canada and Siberia are very rich in minerals, notably nickel, molybdenum. cobalt, lead, zincand (since the 1940s) uranium, whilst the Grand Banksand Sea of Okhotskare two of the richest fisheries in the world and provide support for many small towns.
Except for those areas adjacent to warm
ocean currents, there is almost always continuous permafrostdue to the very cold winters. This means that building in most subarctic regions is very difficult and expensive: cities are very few ( Murmanskbeing the largest) and generally small, whilst roads are few and railways non-existent. An important consequence is that transportation tends to be restricted to "bush" planes, helicopters and, in summer, river boats.
Except for a few parts of
Europewhere the winters are relatively mild due to prevailing wind patterns, subarctic regions were not explored until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Even then, the difficulty of transportation ensured that few settlements (most of them created for mining) lasted long - the ghost towns of the Yukon, Northwest Territoriesand increasingly Siberia illustrate this.
Trans-Siberian Railway, which skirts the edge of the region, provided a major boost to Russian settlement in the subarctic, as did the intensive industrialisation under Stalinthat relied on the enormous mineral resources of the Central Siberian Plateau. Today, many towns in subarctic Russia are declining precipitously as former mines close. In Canada, after the early minerals run out, development stalled until hydroelectric development occurred in the 1950s and 1960s. Hydro-Québecin particular has carried out many remarkable engineering works in regions of near-continuous permafrost, but these have never supported a significant population and have mainly served densely populated southern Québec.
Tourism in recent years has become a major source of revenue for most countries of the subarctic due to the beautiful, generally glacial, lanscapes so characteristic of the region. Most areas in the subarctic are among the most expensive places in the world to visit, both due to high costs of living and extreme difficulties of transport. Nonetheless, the great opportunities for outdoor recreation lure an ever-increasing number of travellers. At the same time, the older industries of the subarctic (fishing, mining, hydroelectric power) are being threatened both by environmental opposition and overfishing leading to depleted stocks of commercially important species.
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Look at other dictionaries:
Subarctic — Sub*arc tic, a. Approximately arctic; belonging to a region just without the arctic circle. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
subarctic — [sub ärk′tik, subär′tik] adj. designating or of the area immediately surrounding the Arctic Circle … English World dictionary
subarctic — SUBÁRCTI//C subarcticcă (subarcticci, subarcticce) Care este situat între zona arctică şi cea temperată. /sub + arctic Trimis de siveco, 22.08.2004. Sursa: NODEX SUBÁRCTIC, Ă adj. Situat între zona arctică şi zona temperată. [cf. germ.… … Dicționar Român
subarctic — adjective Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary Date: 1854 of, relating to, characteristic of, or being regions immediately outside of the arctic circle or regions similar to these in climate or conditions of life • subarctic noun … New Collegiate Dictionary
subarctic — 1. noun /sʌbˈɑːktɪk/lang=en/sʌbˈɑːtɪk/lang=en Region immediately outside of the Arctic Circle or regions similar to these in climate or conditions of life. 2. adjective /sʌbˈɑːktɪk/lang=en/sʌbˈɑːtɪk/lang=en Of, relating to, or characteristic of… … Wiktionary
subarctic — /sub ahrk tik, ahr tik/, adj. of, pertaining to, similar to, or being the region immediately south of the Arctic Circle; subpolar. [1850 55; SUB + ARCTIC] * * * … Universalium
subarctic — sub|arc|tic [ sʌb arktık ] adjective relating to the very cold parts of the world just south of the Arctic Circle … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
subarctic — sub arcÂ·tic || â€šsÊŒb É‘rktÉªk / É‘Ëk adj. of or pertaining to regions located just south of the Arctic Circle; characteristic of regions located just south of the Arctic Circle … English contemporary dictionary
subarctic — adjective relating to the region immediately south of the Arctic Circle … English new terms dictionary
subarctic — adjective near or typical of the Arctic Circle … Longman dictionary of contemporary English