The mid-latitude region is located roughly between 30 degrees and 60 degrees north or south of the equator. Steppe is usually a semi-arid area with rough grassland that receives less rainfall. Mid-latitude steppes lie in the outer regions of mid-latitude deserts. Unlike the desert, the mid-latitude steppe has little vegetation. The precipitation and humidity levels in regions of the mid-latitude steppe are extremely low. There is no or rare vegetation in mid-latitude deserts.
Synonyms of Steppe
Some of the popular synonyms of the steppe are pampas, savanna, pasture, meadow, etc.
What are Mid-Latitude Areas?
Mid-latitude areas are specific locations on the earth, situated particularly from 23°26'22 to 66°33'39 north and south of the equator.
Characteristics of Mid Latitude Steppe Climate
Usually, the mid-latitude steppe region in Asia, North America, and South America is found on the leeward side of the mountain range. A mountain range’s leeward side receives low precipitation, and this region also lacks moisture content in the air. These conditions create the ideal mid-latitude steppe climate. Low moisture and low rainfall are the primary characteristics of mid-latitude steppes.
The temperature in the mid-latitude steppe region depends on the elevation, latitude, and distance between land and water. As we go away from the equator, the temperature keeps on decreasing, whereas the temperature increases while moving towards the equator. In the case of elevation, the steppes found on higher elevations have a higher temperature, and steppes located on lower elevations will have a lower temperature.
The temperature usually falls between -40 degrees in winter to 40 degrees in the summer months.
As discussed earlier, the mid-latitude steppe is a semi-arid region which means that the amount of rainfall in this area is low, typically between 100 mm to 300 mm in a year.
Another vital thing to be noted is that if the mid-latitude steppe is closer to the tropical area, the humidity will influence the steppe’s climate. In that case, the duration of summer will be extended. Also, the presence of more humidity in the air will lead to more rainfall.
On the other hand, if the mid-latitude steppe region is near the coastal area, it will influence precipitation. The moisture-carrying wind from the sea will contribute to a more significant amount of rainfall in such a steppe.
Example of Mid-Latitude Steppe
Some of the examples of mid-latitude steppe include- The Prairies in North America, Kansas in the US, the Great Steppe in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the steppe in the eastern part of southern Andes.
What is a Mid-latitude Desert?
The mid-latitude desert is an excessively dry region with an arid climate located between 30 degrees and 60 degrees north and south of the equator. The placement of these deserts is found in the interior parts of the continents. The precipitation and humidity levels in these regions are extremely low. There is no or rare vegetation in mid-latitude deserts.
Characteristics of Mid-Latitude Desert Climate
A stark seasonal contrast in temperature can be observed in the mid-latitude deserts. In the hot summer of July, the temperature increases up to 20 degrees celsius and decreases to -27 degrees celsius in the harsh winter of January.
The summer temperature in mid-latitude deserts is not very hot due to its location in the temperate zone, which is cooler than the tropical zone.
As these deserts are found in the inner regions of the continent far from the sea, they have low moisture content in the air. Therefore, the humidity level in these areas is significantly low as well.
Usually, mid-latitude deserts lie in the rain-shadow area of a mountain range that does not receive adequate rainfall.
The mid-latitude deserts are found in the temperate zone, which is relatively cooler than tropical and subtropical areas. Therefore, high atmospheric pressure and low moisture exist in these deserts, which are the main factors responsible for low precipitation.
Located in the far interior regions of the continents, these deserts are distant from water bodies and seas, which are the chief sources of moisture.
Examples of Mid-Latitude Desert
Some of the mid-latitude deserts that are found in the northern hemisphere include -
Gobi desert, Taklamakan desert, Greater Barsuki desert, Aral Karakum desert, Kyzylkum desert, Aralkum desert, and Ustyurt desert in Asia.
Great Basin desert and Mojave desert in North America.
One of the notable examples of mid-latitude desert in the southern hemisphere is Patagonia in South America.
Difference Between Steppe And Desert Climates
A Desert climate holds less moisture in the air compared to the semi-arid steppe. The steppe region is usually covered with grass, whereas deserts are covered with sand and scattered cactus plants. Below are some of the main differences between steppes and deserts.
Deserts do not receive much rainfall as compared to steppes.
A desert is a home to some well-adapted and unusual plants whereas steppes have long grass and scrubs.
The steppe region is mostly covered with grass and scrubs while the desert region has sand and cactus plants scattered across the entire area.
Since steppes are semi-arid regions, they have fewer moisture deficits as compared to deserts.
Now that you know the characteristics and meanings of mid-latitude steppes and desert climates, you can easily tell the difference between these regions. Make sure to go through the features and examples of both steppes and deserts to get a better understanding of these regions.
One of the characteristics of mid-latitude steppes is that they are found in the Leeward Side of the mountain ranges in Asia, South America, and North America. On the other hand, deserts are found in the inner regions of the continent away from the sea. This is one of the major features that make mid-latitude steppes' climate different from the desert climate.