Grasslands can be found on just about every continent on the planet, but what kind of climate does this natural area have?
The climate of grasslands can vary depending on their location. Most commonly, grasslands are known for their distinct seasons, which usually have hot to warm summers and cold to freezing winters - with annual temperatures that can range from -30 to 100 degrees fahrenheit.
Our planet’s grasslands provide us with one of nature’s most iconic landscapes. These beautiful natural areas are full of wildlife and vital habitat, as the climate conditions of these areas are a calling for so many different types of species to live. With that being said, the climate of the grasslands does vary significantly throughout the year, which means that all of the life that inhabits the grasslands needs to be able to adapt to the distinct seasons that this biome is known for. In addition, grasslands can be found all over the Earth - implying that the climate of this biome can be hard to standardize on a planetary scale. To help you understand everything you need to know about the climate of grasslands, we are going to take a closer look at this natural area in more detail.
After decades of working as a conservationist that specializes in grasslands, I have had an extensive amount of experience studying this biome in the field. My research and analysis have helped determine the climate of our planet’s grasslands.
If you have ever driven through the Heartland of the United States, then you have likely had a glimpse of this incredible natural area firsthand. Our grasslands can easily be spotted by their large plains that span hundreds and hundreds of miles, which have become one of our nation’s most stunning landscapes.
However, grasslands can also be found in many other places on our planet. In fact, you can find different types of grasslands in South America, Australia, Europe, Asia, Russia, and even Africa, which makes this biome one of the most expansive on Earth. Given that grasslands can be found in so many different places, you can expect to see some fluctuations in their climate. Most grassland climates are identified by 4 standard seasons throughout the year. However, grasslands that are located in tropical regions, will only have 2 seasons that range from wet to dry. Tropical grasslands stay warm throughout the entire year but will experience extreme wet or dry climate conditions during the peaks of each season.
A good way to look at the climate of our grasslands is to categorize it based on its distance from the equator. Some of our planet’s grasslands that are in places such as the southern regions of Central Asia, will tend to have more stable climates that are a bit warmer throughout the year - with cool or cold winters and generally scorching hot summers. On the other hand, northern grasslands like the ones located in parts of Russia, are often subjected to much less favorable conditions - with warm summers that are quite short - and freezing cold winters that can be prolonged. The amount of rainfall and snow of these grasslands will usually be anywhere from 10 to 30+ inches. However, tropical grasslands can see as much as 80+ inches of rain in just a single year.
One of the reasons why the climate of grasslands is so important to humans is that this biome has some of the most fertile soil on the planet. Grassland areas in some parts of the United States and Europe are considered to be some of the most ideal locations for growing food, which is why the climate of these regions needs to be carefully observed so that farming can be approached strategically. In recent years, we have been seeing the climate of these regions become more unstable due to the global effects of climate change. This has made predicting climate conditions in our grasslands trickier, which results in unusual climate patterns. Let’s dive right into the climate of grasslands.
Regardless of the geographical locations of grasslands, you can expect the summer months to be nice and warm or even hot. The summer months of grasslands are well defined within the 4 seasons - with average temperatures hovering around 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, many regions experience temperatures that are significantly warmer than this. It is very common for grasslands to get to as much as 100 degrees Fahrenheit - or even more in some cases. This extreme heat can make a lot of life during the summer months in the grasslands to be quite tumultuous for a lot of the inhabitants and species of the area.
It is important to note that summers in the grasslands are usually very dry, which is when a lot of plants in the area change their color to golden/brown. Grasslands are known for having virtually no rain at all during the summer - with dry periods without a single drop lasting for months. Plants and animals need to be very resourceful during this period - given that water supplies are practically non-existent.
With that being said, grassland regions that are located further away from the equator can be more stable and balanced during the summer months. These regions may have hot summers, but with the occasional rain here and there.
The fall months of the grasslands are generally a transitional period for the region. For that reason, fall can sometimes be a bit of a wildcard for the climate. While you can expect most grasslands located further away from the equator to be more predictable, regions closer to the equator can be harder to pinpoint.
The grasslands that are located further from the equator, will usually start to get quite cold and even wet once fall rolls in. The average temperature of these regions can range from 35 to 55 degrees fahrenheit - with moderate rainfall.
On the other hand, grasslands that are closer to the equator are known for having a more stable fall season. It is common to see grasslands in these regions experience an extension of summer going into the beginning of the fall. This means that temperatures will usually hover anywhere from 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the first half of fall. However, the temperatures can fall quite a bit towards the middle and second half of the season.
The winters of the grasslands can be especially cold. It is very common to receive a considerable amount of snow during this time of the year and for temperatures to drop to as little as 0 degrees Fahrenheit. These adverse conditions can make life within the grasslands rather dormant, as many animal species choose to go into a period of hibernation in order to escape the unforgiving winter.
This is especially the case in regions that are located far from the equator - where temperatures can drop to -38 degrees Fahrenheit - making life very challenging for a lot of the species in the area. Many bird species decide to migrate down south in these areas to survive the winter. You will also see that the climate affects a lot of the plant life of these regions - with trees and shrubs becoming barren from shedding their leaves.
However, if grasslands are located closer to the equator, they will generally have winters that are a bit more mild but still very cold. It is common for these regions to experience winters that are below freezing with temperatures that range from 0 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
The springtime is a wondrous season for the grasslands, as winter begins to wind down and the warmth starts to return to the biome. In most grassland regions around the world, snow will start to melt in the early to middle months of spring (usually around March).
As the snow melts and the temperatures of the region rise, plants begin to come back to life and animals will become more apparent. It is during these spring months that animals come out of hibernation and migratory species begin to return to the grasslands.
The average temperature of the grasslands during the spring months can range depending on the region’s position to the equator. Usually, temperatures will be anywhere from 25 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit during the spring - with them steadily increasing as the region gets closer to summer.
There have been anomalies in grassland climates during the spring, as this is also a transitional period between the warmest and coldest times of the year. Some regions can experience smooth transitions into spring that have stable and even warm climates early on. Whereas other regions may experience prolonged winters that carry on into the middle of spring, which results in freezing conditions that can last until as long as April.
About THE AUTHOR
James Parker has a Masters degree in Sustainability with a focus on land management, permaculture and regenerative agriculture. He also has experience managing sustainability projects, and is passionate about conservation and sustainability.Read More About James Parker