Goh Cheng Leong Chapter 23 – Cool Temperate Continental (Siberian) Climate YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Watch Video Lecture on YouTube: Goh Cheng Leong Chapter 23: Cool Temperate Continental (Siberian) Climate

Goh Cheng Leong Chapter 23: Cool Temperate Continental (Siberian) Climate

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Image of Arctic or Polar Type

Image of Arctic or Polar Type

Image of World Map

Image of World Map

  • Broad E-W spread

  • Merge with Arctic tundra in north and Steppes in south

  • Also called Sub-Arctic – evergreen coniferous – continuous belt in north

  • Called Taiga – Siberia – similar climate in N. Europe, Sweden & Finland

  • Absent in South Hemisphere – narrowness of southern continents in high latitude & strong oceanic influence

  • Coniferous (S. Hemisphere) only in mountain uplands of S. Chile, New Zealand, Tasmania & SE Australia


  • Cold long winters & cool brief summers

  • Spring & Autumn are transitional

  • Isotherm - 50 for warmest month form poleward boundary of Siberian climate and winter months are below freezing

  • Annual range is 54 ((Moscow) and 73 (Churchill – more northerly position)

  • Due to extreme of temperature called – cold pole of earth

  • N. America – less temperature extreme due to less east west stretch

  • Lowest temperature of world in Verkhoyansk

  • Known for heavy snowfall

  • Frost in Aug-Sept

  • Volga River ice covered for 150 days & further north - Ob, Lena & Yenisey River ice covered for 210 days

  • Winds – Blizzards of Canada & Buran of Europe (50 mph & at - snowflakes in lower atmosphere reduce visibility

  • Siberia is sparsely populated – unbearable conditions


  • 15-25 inches of annual precipitation

  • Rainfall well distributed year round

  • Summer maximum from conventional rainfall – interior are heated

  • Winters – snowfall – mean temperature below freezing point

  • Conifers – require little moisture & transpire less are best suited

  • Low temperature, low evaporation & high relative humidity – even small precipitation is good for tree growth

  • Factors affecting Precipitation

    • Altitude

    • Latitude

    • Proximity to poles

    • Exposure to Westerlies

    • Temperate monsoons

    • Penetration to cyclones

  • European USSR – more than 20 inches – due to westerlies and cyclones

  • Poleward & southward – amount decreases (north air is unable to hold moisture) and south has semi-arid steppes

  • Permanent snowfields are absent (as in Alps & Himalayas) due to melting in spring & summer

  • Frozen rivers are thawed causing rise in water level & floods

  • BENEFITS: Snow is poor conductor of heat & protects ground from severe cold above & provide moisture when snow melts in spring

  • When ground is ploughed, acidic podzolic soil is improved & some agriculture is possible


  • Richest source of softwood – conifers – building construction, furniture, paper, pulp, rayon, matches

  • Greatest softwood production – USSR, USA< Canada & Fenoscandian (Finland, Norway, Sweden)

  • Wood pulp production (chemical & mechanical) – USA leads

  • Newsprint – Canada leads (half of total production)

  • Taiga (Siberia) – richest source of temperate softwood

  • Occur in pure strands – good for commercial exploitation

  • 4 main species – Pine (White, red, Scots, Jack & lodge pole), Fir (Douglas & Balsam), Spruce & Larch


  • Uniform, straight, tall, upto 100 feet, towards poles they are spaced and turn to tundra vegetation

  • 2-Year fructification cycle – seeds pollinated in one year and dispersed in next year

Image of Pine Cone

Image of Pine Cone

Image of Chilgoza Seed of Pine Cone

Image of Chilgoza Seed of Pine Cone

Image of Chilgoza Pine Nuts (Neoza)

Image of Chilgoza Pine Nuts (Neoza)

  • No annual replacement of new leaves as in deciduous – same leaves can remain for 5 years

  • Food stored in trunks and bark is thick to protect trunk from cold

  • Conical in shape to prevent snow accumulation & provide little grip to winds

Image-1 of Pine Tree

Image-1 of Pine Tree

  • Leaves are small, thick, leathery and needle-shaped

Image-2 of Pine Tree

Image-2 of Pine Tree

  • Little undergrowth is seen – acidic podzolic soil with excessive leaching, also due to absence of direct sunlight and short summers

  • Also seen in mountainous areas in temperate and tropical countries

  • On very steep slopes – soil is immature and conifers cannot survive

  • Pine, spruce & fir in north forest while larch in south

  • Homogenous, saves time and cost in exploitation

Economic Development

  • Many areas are untouched in Canada, E. Europe and Asiatic Russia

  • Lumbering – transported to saw mills

  • Little agriculture – bordering steppes (barley, oats, rye) & root crops like potatoes

  • Samoyeds & Yakuts (Siberia) & Canadians – hunting, fishing & trapping


  • Fur-bearing animals (muskrat, ermine, mink, silver fox) – processed for handbags

Silver Fox

Image of SilverFox Animals

Image of SilverFox Animals


Image of Ermine Animal

Image of Ermine Animal


Image of Muskrat Animal

Image of Muskrat Animal


Image of Mink Animal

Image of Mink Animal

  • Siberia – squirrels, otters, bears, sables, lynx, marten & fox (fur bearing)

  • When cold is keenest – quality and thickness of fur increases

  • Most severe winter has finest furs with highest prices

  • Canada – trappers & hunters have automatic rifles & live in log cabins to track animals

  • Canada has fur farms for regular supply of furs (now replaced hunting of wild animals in Siberia)


  • Saw-milling – logs processed into timber and plywood

  • Timber is pulped to make wood pulp for paper making and newsprint

Image of Lumbering

Image of Lumbering

  • 1/4th of world’s softwood is burnt for as fuel

  • Used as industrial raw material

  • Sweden – matches (major export)

  • By-product of timber – chemically processed articles (rayon, paints, dyes, resins etc.)

Image of Lumbering In Canada

Image of Lumbering in Canada

  • Occurs in winter when sap ceases to flow – felling becomes simpler

  • Snow covered ground makes logging and haulage simple – dragged to rivers and float to saw mills downstream- use cheap HEP for saw mills

  • Northern Sea route links Murmansk & Vladivostok via Arctic Ocean

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