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Tundra vs. Desert: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on December 9, 2023
Tundra is a cold, treeless biome with a frozen subsoil, found in Arctic regions, whereas a desert is a dry, barren area of land, often sandy, with little rainfall and sparse vegetation.

Key Differences

The tundra is known for its extremely cold climate with low temperatures, while deserts are characterized by hot or cold climates but with extreme temperature variations between day and night.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023
Tundras receive low precipitation, similar to deserts, but the cold climate keeps the moisture from evaporating, leading to wetter conditions. Deserts are defined by their lack of rainfall, resulting in arid conditions.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023
Tundra supports limited vegetation like mosses, lichens, and small shrubs, adapted to the cold. Desert vegetation, if present, is adapted to drought, like cacti in hot deserts.
Huma Saeed
Dec 09, 2023
The soil in tundra regions is permanently frozen (permafrost), hindering the growth of deep-root plants. Desert soils, on the other hand, are often sandy or rocky with little organic material.
Harlon Moss
Dec 09, 2023
Human habitation is sparse in both due to extreme conditions, but tundra regions are less hospitable due to the severe cold.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Climate

Extremely cold, with a short growing season
Hot or cold with extreme daily temperature variations
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

Precipitation

Low but with moisture retention due to cold
Very low, leading to arid conditions
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

Vegetation

Mosses, lichens, small shrubs
Sparse, often drought-resistant like cacti
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

Soil

Permafrost, frozen subsoil
Sandy, rocky, low in organic material
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

Human Habitation

Limited due to harsh conditions
Sparse, adapted to arid environments
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023
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Tundra and Desert Definitions

Tundra

Characterized by short growing seasons and low biodiversity.
Plants in the tundra have adapted to brief summer seasons.
Janet White
Nov 21, 2023

Desert

An arid, barren area of land with little precipitation and vegetation.
The Sahara is one of the largest deserts in the world.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 21, 2023

Tundra

Features permafrost, limiting deep-rooted plant growth.
Permafrost in the tundra impacts the types of plants that can grow.
Harlon Moss
Nov 21, 2023

Desert

Hosts specialized flora and fauna adapted to dry conditions.
Cacti are common plants found in many hot deserts.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 21, 2023

Tundra

A cold, treeless biome with a permanently frozen subsoil.
The Arctic tundra is home to a unique set of wildlife.
Harlon Moss
Nov 21, 2023

Desert

Often features sandy or rocky terrain with sparse vegetation.
The landscape of a desert is often shaped by wind and sand.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 21, 2023

Tundra

Found in high latitudes and altitudes around the Arctic.
The tundra landscape is dominated by low-lying vegetation.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 21, 2023

Desert

Characterized by extreme temperature fluctuations.
Desert days can be scorching, while nights are often cold.
Huma Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Tundra

Hosts unique fauna adapted to its harsh environment.
Caribou are well-suited to the harsh conditions of the tundra.
Huma Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Desert

Can be hot, like subtropical deserts, or cold.
The Gobi Desert is an example of a cold desert.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 21, 2023

Tundra

A treeless area beyond the timberline in high-latitude regions, having a permanently frozen subsoil and supporting low-growing vegetation such as lichens, mosses, and shrubs.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Desert

A dry, often sandy region of little rainfall, extreme temperatures, and sparse vegetation.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Tundra

A similar area found at high elevations.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Desert

A region of permanent cold that is largely or entirely devoid of life.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Tundra

A flat and treeless Arctic biome.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Tundra

One of the level or undulating treeless plains characteristic of northern arctic regions in both hemispheres; the term is most commony associated with the arctic plains of Siberia. The tundras mark the limit of arborescent vegetation; they consist of black mucky soil with a permanently frozen subsoil, but support a dense growth of mosses and lichens, and dwarf herbs and shrubs, often showy-flowered.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Tundra

A vast treeless plain in the arctic regions between the ice cap and the tree line
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

FAQs

Can trees grow in the tundra?

Trees cannot grow in the tundra due to the cold and permafrost.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

What is a tundra?

A cold, treeless region with a permanently frozen subsoil.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

What defines a desert?

A dry, barren area with little rain and sparse vegetation.
Huma Saeed
Dec 09, 2023

What causes deserts to form?

Factors like low rainfall, high evaporation, and climate patterns.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

How do desert animals conserve water?

They have adaptations like nocturnal habits and water-efficient metabolisms.
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023

Are deserts always hot?

No, deserts can be hot or cold, like the Antarctic desert.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

Can people live in deserts?

Yes, people live in deserts, often adapting to the arid conditions.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 09, 2023

What is permafrost?

Permafrost is permanently frozen ground found in the tundra.
Harlon Moss
Dec 09, 2023

What animals live in the tundra?

Animals like caribou, arctic foxes, and polar bears live in the tundra.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

What plants are common in deserts?

Cacti, succulents, and other drought-resistant plants are common.
Harlon Moss
Dec 09, 2023

How much rain does the tundra get?

Tundras receive low precipitation, often less than 10 inches annually.
Harlon Moss
Dec 09, 2023

What is the largest tundra in the world?

The Arctic tundra is the largest.
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023

Are desert environments expanding?

Yes, some deserts are expanding due to climate change and desertification.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

Is agriculture possible in the tundra?

The harsh conditions make agriculture challenging in the tundra.
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023

Do deserts have seasons?

Some deserts experience seasonal variations, but they're usually subtle.
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023

Do rivers exist in deserts?

Some deserts have rivers, often seasonal or fed by external sources.
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023

Is global warming affecting the tundra?

Yes, global warming is causing permafrost melting and ecosystem changes.
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023

How do tundra animals survive the cold?

They have adaptations like thick fur and fat layers.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 09, 2023

Are there lakes in the tundra?

Yes, there are many lakes and ponds in the tundra during summer.
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023

What is the biggest desert on Earth?

The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert.
Janet White
Dec 09, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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