Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug

Physical geography and climate
Population, economic development and infrastructure
Indigenous land use and dependence on the environment
Environmental threats
Map (1997)
Article collection

Physical geography and climate

The Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug comprises the tundra areas of the Yamal Peninsula and the Gyda area (Gydanskaya gryada), on both sides of the Ob estuary. It reaches far southward into the taiga belt. The okrug is bound by the Nenets Autonomous Okrug and the Komi Republic to the west, and by the Krasnoyarsk Territory , including the Taymyr Autonomous Okrug, to the east. The landscape is completely flat, mostly below 100 m.a.s.l., with numerous swamps and lakes. Only to the north-west of Salekhard, the mountains of the Polar Urals rise abruptly to elevations of 1300-1400 m. The major drainage vein of the vast taiga areas to the south is the Ob River that forms a 700 km long estuary (Obskaya Guba) between the Yamal and Gyda areas. The entire area to the east of the Urals, including adjacent offshore areas, is a rich oil and gas.

The vegetation is barren tundra in the north, reaching southward far into the taiga belt. The northernmost forest tundra (open spruce vegetation) starts to the south of the Ob estuary and the okrug capital Salekhard. It soon grades into taiga forests with larch and spruce (occasionally cedar) and, farther south, pine vegetation. Large bog areas are intercalated. The okrug has an arctic-maritime (north) to moderate-continental (south) climate and is entirely situated within the permafrost zone, except for the transitional southern taiga areas with temporary permafrost. The frost-free period is 1.5 months (interior Yamal) to 3 months (taiga belt). Winter ice covers the entire coast and open sea to the north (ca. November-June). Average temperatures are -20° (west) to -28°C (east) in January, and +4° (north) to +16°C (south) in July.