Kazakh Steppe

The Kazakh Steppe, alternatively called Kirghiz Steppe, ecoregion located in the Palearctic Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Biome, is a wide region of open grassland in the northern part of Kazakhstan and adjacent portions of Russia, stretching eastwards to the Pontic steppe and to the west of the Emin Valley steppe, with which it creates part of the Eurasian steppe.

The steppe stretches out more than 2,200 kilometers from the area east of the Caspian Depression and north of the Aral Sea, all the way to the Altai Mountains. It’s the largest dry steppe region on the entire Earth, covering about 804,500 square kilometers. The Kazakh Steppe lies at the southern end of the Ural Mountains, the traditional separating line between Europe and Asia. Much of the steppe is considered to be semi-desert, grading into desert as it goes further south. The Turan Lowland lies in the southwestern portion of the steppe, but the elevation increases as one travels east or to the northern portions of the steppe, with a few exceptions.

This region has a semi-arid, continental climate, with the majority of the area falling under the “BSk” classification under the Koppen climate classification system. The steppe obtains from 200 mm to 400 mm of precipitation in an average year, with more falling within the northern areas of the steppe. At times, very high winds sweep over the steppe.

Image Caption: Altyn Emeil National Park. Credit: Walton Lloyd Burns/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)