Tundra

2017-05-05 06:55:05
Desert & Tundra
Tundra
Distinct CharacteristicsTundra is an arctic biome where it is too cold for trees to grow. Outside of the polar ice caps, tundra has the coldest temperatures on Earth. There are two types of tundra: arctic tundra, which is also found in Antarctica, and alpine tundra, which is found only at high altitudes. Arctic tundra occurs north of the arctic circle and south of the antarctic circle. It covers much of Alaska and vast areas of northern Canada and Russia. It is also found along the northern coast of Antarctica. Alpine tundra occurs in mountains around the world at any latitude, but only above the tree line. The tree line is the edge of the zone at which trees are able to survive. Alpine tundra is found in the Rocky Mountains in the United States and in several other mountain ranges around the world. Both types of tundra receive very low precipitation, but little of it evaporates because of the cold. Arctic tundra has permafrost, which is soil that is frozen year-round. The top layer of soil thaws in the summer, but deeper layers do not. As a result, water cannot soak into the ground. This leaves the soil soggy and creates many bogs, lakes, and streams. Alpine tundra does not have permafrost, except at very high altitudes. Therefore, alpine tundra soil tends to be dry rather than soggy. Global warming poses a serious threat to Arctic tundra biomes because it is causing the permafrost to melt. When permafrost melts, it not only changes the tundra. It also releases large amounts of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Both are greenhouse gases, which contribute to greater global warming. The most common vegetation in tundra is mosses and lichens. They can grow in very little soil and become dormant during the winter. Tundra is too cold for amphibians or reptiles, which cannot regulate their own body heat. Insects such as mosquitoes can survive the winter as pupae and are very numerous in summer. In addition, many species of birds and large herds of caribou migrate to arctic tundra each summer. However, few birds and mammals live there year-round. Those that remain have adapted to the extreme cold. Polar bears are an example. They have very thick fur to insulate them from the cold. In alpine tundra, animals must adapt to rugged terrain as well as to cold. Alpine animals include mountain goats, which not only have wool to keep them warm but are also sure-footed and agile.

Tundra

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  • 2017-05-05 06:53:38
    2017-05-05 06:55:05
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