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Write a brief note on the climate of the prairies.

Last updated date: 13th Jul 2024
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Hint: Prairies are habitats that ecologists classify as part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome because they have similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and a dominant vegetation type of grasses, herbs, and shrubs rather than trees.

Complete answer:
Prairies can be found in the middle of the continent (North America). The uplift of the Rocky Mountains near Alberta began the formation of the North American Prairies. Downwind, the mountains formed a rain shadow, resulting in lower precipitation rates.

With the disruptions of grazing and burning, tallgrass prairie developed over tens of thousands of years. Before the European invasion of the Americas, native ungulates such as bison, elk, and white-tailed deer roamed the vast, diverse grasslands.

As a result, we find a continental climate there, marked by extreme temperatures. Summers are hot, with temperatures around 20 degree Celsius, and winters are cold, with temperatures around -20 degree Celsius in Winnipeg and Canada, the major cities of the American prairies. This area is blanketed in snow throughout the winter. The amount of rain that falls each year is moderate. Chinook, a local wind, blows here.

Note: Prairie formation and the establishment of the diversity of graminoid and forbs species were both aided by humans and grazing animals. The ash created by fire has the effect of removing trees, clearing dead plant matter, and changing the availability of certain nutrients in the soil.
True prairies used to be covered in a thicket of native grasses and annual flowering plants, but they are now engulfed by fields.