Is there such a thing as an “arctic rainforest”?

A rainforest is defined as a forested area that gets at least 100 inches of rainfall a year. We all know about tropical rainforests. There are also temperate rainforests in the Temperate zone, as in the Olympic National Park in Washington State. But are there also arctic rainforests?

I have rainfall maps and vegetation maps. By putting them together it appears that part of the coast of Norway above the Arctic circle is forested and gets at least 80 inches of melted precipitation (up to about 69º N). But the maps are not detailed, so it’s hard to say. I’m guessing that at least a small part of the area gets more than 100 inches of melted precipitation, but I have no maps that would show that. The only settlements I see in the area are Bodø, Lødingen and Harstad.

Is there an area in Norway that would meet the definition of an arctic rainforest? Or arctic snowforest, perhaps?

It’s still a temperate rain forest, even that far north. BTW, Ive been to Bodø, it’s a real dump. And there’s one taxi to serve the whole town :frowning:

Isn’t part of the definition of “Arctic” “above the treeline”? North of the treeline, no trees, therefore no rain forest.

I’ve never heard the term “Arctic rainforest” before, but a little checking revealed a distribution map that classifies the forests in northern Norway as “Northern coniferous forest,” not rainforest.

According to Begon, Harper, and Townsend. 1990. Ecology, p. 27, one of the characteristics of a “Northern coniferous forest” is:

It’s possible that they consider it not a rainforest if enough of the precipitation is frozen. However, I think there is a better explanation.

The boundaries between biomes are pretty vague and are not well-defined. an arbitrary number such as 200 cm of precipitation can be chosen to divide rainforest from non-rainforest, but that doesn’t reflect the fact that a forest with 190 cm of annual precipitation may be quite similar to one with 210 cm of annual precipitation. I think it’s better that these biomes be vaguely defined without sharp arbitrary distinctions.

I wouldn’t get on your case if you started calling them arctic rainforests.

Just keep in mind that there is only a 3 or 4 month window for some serious snowmelt to occur in the arctic regions, and even then it can still snow more at any time. So basically if an arctic region got enough precipitation to qualify as a pseudo “rainforest” there is simply no way even one years accumulation of snow would be able to melt off. Year after year it would continue to build to a permanent snowfield, gradually becoming a glacier, and the end result would be a massive ice sheet much like in northern British Colombia and southern Alaska. Which I believe actually qualifies as the largest ice sheet NOT located within the arctic or antarctic circles, and considering it’s close proximity to an actual rainforest (Pacific Northwest) I believe that is your arctic “rainforest”. So the short answer is…. Until trees learn to grow on snow there will be no arctic rainforest. :rolleyes:

If we’re simply defining “Arctic region” as “region north of the Arctic Circle”, Mr. Orange, then you’re mistaken. There are definitely trees in northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland, all north of the Arctic Circle… and if there aren’t any on Russia’s Kola Peninsula, it’s only because the severe pollution in the region has finally killed them all off :frowning: I don’t know if any of the forests would meet the (arbitrary) criteria to be a “rain forest”, but the coastal regions of Norway are almost all extremely wet. This tends to happen when prevailing winds off the ocean run into coastal mountain ranges. In the winter this does lead to truly impressive snow build-up. (Tromsø has topped two meters of snow per winter at least twice in recent memory - and that’s in the city, the surrounding mountains get far more.) But the snow does melt and the region enjoys green, if often cool, summers. A rain forest north of the Arctic Circle is certainly a theoretical possibility.

Obviously you won’t have a rain forest growing out of a polar ice cap. But that is so self-evidently absurd that I don’t think the OP had that in mind.

Doh! I should pay more attention to the OP. This is what happens on mornings without coffee! :rolleyes:

Hmm, so what exactly is your definition of “arctic region”?

Not a bad guess, after actually looking at some info on Norway I would have to agree. However it seems that in order to avoid permanent snow fields the climate needs to be significantly modified (warmed) by an external force, in this case the North Atlantic Current.

I only know that the Arctic used to be a rainforrest - long
long dont ask me how long ago - climate changes since then…

Gee it is kind of hard to get a definition of a temperate rainforest let alone one for arctic regions. Most of the definitions include bird and animal life also,which would disqualify any arctic areas.

There’s a lot of coastal islands in the arctic circle that are innundated every few days with storms. Lots of rain, but also enough salt to kill most land plants of any size.
More rain marsh than rain forest.