Geography of the Komi Republic
The Republic is located in the far northeast of the European part of the Russian Federation, bounded by the Pechorsk and Mezensko-Vychegodsk lowlands. Middle and Southern Timan, and the western slopes of the Ural Mountains (the Northern, Pre-Polar and Polar Urals).
On the west, northwest and north, it borders on the Arkhangelsk Region and its Nenets Autonomous Region. On the east, it borders on the Yamalo-Nenets and Khanty-Mansy Autonomous Regions. On the southeast, it borders with the Sverdlovsk Region, and on the south with the Perm Region. The main rivers – Izhma, Mezen, Pechora, Vychegda, Vym, Usa.
Territory – 415,000 sq. km (2.44% of the territory of the Russian Federation). The largest dimensions are: from the southwest to the northeast – 1275 km, from the north to south – 785 km, and from the west to the east – 695 km.
Reief and Climate
Copious humidity, specific topographic features and geological structure have resulted in an abundance of surface and underground waters.
Slow drainage and the nearby occurrence of underground water and considerable areas of permafrost in the northeast have resulted in the emergence of swamps. Komi's average waterloggedness is 9.4% reaching 40-80% in some river basins. The mountainous areas washed with rains are the main regions of drainage, and many rivers originate there.
A considerable part of Komi's river network belongs to the basin of the Arctic Ocean. The Pechora (1809 km), Komi's major river, is second (after the Volga) in waten volume in the European part of Russia. Annually, it brings 120 cubic km to the Arctic Ocean, which is three times as much as the volume brought by the other rivers in Komi.
The main tributary of the Pechora, the Usa, exceeds the Don in terms of water, volume. Other major tributaries include the llych, the Pedcherem, the Shchuger, the Usa, the Laya, and the Shapkina (right side), and the Izhma and Tsilma (left side), The major tributary of the Northern Dvina, the Vychegda (1130 km), flows within the territory of Komi; its annual drainage is equal to 32 cubic km. The major tributaries ob the Vychegda are the Vym (right side) and the Sysola (left side). There are no large lakes. The total area of lakes is small, comprising only 0.1% of Komi's territory. The major lakes, Yamozero (49 sq. km) and Sindorskoye (35 sq. km), are residual lake and glacial basins. Some tundra areas are rich in small lakes. Floodplain lakes in river valleys are a special group. In the mountains, lakes are located in deeps kars, circuses and on the bottoms of troughs.
Soils on the territory of Komi undergo changes depending on topographic features climate, natural rocks, water regime and the organic world. In the tundra zone the main type of soil is gley podzolized soil which is characterized by excessive humidity and low accumulation of organic mass.
In northern taiga, gley podzolic soil is formed in spruce forests. Medium taiga is characterized by podzolic soil. Derno-podzolicl soils, which are the best soils in Komi, are common in southern taiga especially in small-leafed forests. The vastest areas of taiga have hydromorphic podzolic and hydromorphic soils.
The Ural Mountains extend about 2,500 km from the Kara Sea to the Kazakh steppes along the northern border of Kazakhstan. Vaygach Island and the island of Novaya Zemlya form a further continuation of the chain on the north. Geographically this range marks the northern part of the border between the continents of Europe and Asia. Its highest peak is Mount Narodnaya (1,895 m)
By topography and other natural features, Ural is divided, from north to south, into the Polar (or Arctic), Nether-Polar (or Sub-Arctic), Northern, Central and Southern parts. The Polar Ural extends for about 385 kilometers from the Mount Konstantinov Kamen in the north to the Khulga River in the south; it has an area of about 25,000 km² and a strongly dissected relief. The maximum height is 1,499 meters at the Payer Mountain and the average height is 1,000–1,100 meters. The mountains of Polar Ural could have sharp ridges but there are also flattened or rounded tops.
The Nether-Polar Ural is wider (up to 150 km) and higher than the Polar Ural, with the highest peaks of 1,895 m ( Mount Narodnaya), 1,878 m ( Mount Karpinsky (Urals)) and 1,662 m (Manaraga). It extends for more than 225 kilometers (140 miles) south to the Shchugor River. Its many ridges have sawtooth shape and are dissected by river valleys. Both Polar and Nether-Polar Urals are typically Alpine; they bear traces of Pleistocene glaciation and permafrost and have a rather developed modern glaciation that includes 143 glaciers.
The Northern Ural consists of a series of parallel ridges with the height up to 1,000–1,200 m and longitudinal depressions. They are elongated from north to south and stretch for about 560 km from the Usa River. Most of the tops are flattened, but those of the highest mountains, such as Telposiz (1,617 m) and Konzhakovsky Stone (1,569 m) have dissected topography. Intensive weathering has produced vast areas of eroded stones on the mountain slopes and summits of the northern areas.
Komi's climate is determined by its location in the extreme northeast of Europe and remoteness from the Atlantic Ocean, the proximity of the Arctic Ocean, and the considerable influence of Arctic air masses and cyclones. The climate on most of Komi's territory is moderately cold (boreal) with a long, cold winter and a short, but relatively warm, summer.
Further to the north, the boreal climate changes into an Arctic climate- Zonal changes of the climate, though gradual, are quite distinct. The temperature rises pronouncedly from the north to the south; the average temperature in July for the Vorkuta area is 8-10°C, and the average for the south of Komi is 18'C. This pattern is partially broken by the Timan Ridge, which has lower temperatures due to its considerable height. The highest parts of the Urals are actually characterized by Arctic conditions.
In winter, the temperature mainly depends not on sun warmth, but rather on the transfer of warmth by air masses. Therefore, the temperature drops from the west to the east, relative to the distance from the Atlantic region. The average temperature in January approximates 15°C in the west of Komi and 20 °C in the Polar Pre-Urals. The invasion of cold air masses from the north can decrease temperature to –55 °C. The annual average temperature is 0-1 °C in the south of Komi and -4 to - 6 °C in northern areas. The period with stable low temperatures (below -5°C) lasts up to 140 days in the south and around 200-210 days in the northeast. The vegetation period is 150 and 100 days, respectively, and 60-70 days in the mountainous area of the central part of the Ural Ridge.
Сергей Киселев. Колхозное поле. Корткерос
The northern part of Komi is located in the area of permafrost (up to 200 m). Permafrost passes into separate islands and becomes thinner near the southern border of tundra. There is hardly any permafrost in the valleys of major rivers.
Республика Коми : энциклопедия. Т. 1. – Сыктывкар, Коми книжное издательство, 1997. – 472 с.