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In physical geography, the tundra is a region that lacks trees. The frigid temperatures and short growing seasons discourage tree growth. The name tundra comes from the Kildin Sámi word тндар, meaning uplands or treeless mountain tract. This region is now experiencing changes due to global warming.
Temperatures in the tundra
Temperatures in the tundra are extremely low, and the region is characterized by long, cold winters. Some areas receive temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius for up to 10 months. The North Pole, for example, experiences temperatures as low as -88 degrees Celsius. During the summer, temperatures are often between 3 and 12 degrees Celsius. The hottest month in the tundra is August, while the coldest months are March and February.
The tundra has a cold climate and has little rain. The region receives about six to ten inches of rain per year, which is almost as little as the world's driest deserts. The permafrost in the tundra causes poor drainage. The climate in the tundra is classified as Koppen's climate category E. The average temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year.
The temperatures in the tundra range from -30 degrees Fahrenheit to -34 degrees Celsius in the winter. During summer, the permafrost melts, creating swamps, bogs, and lakes, which serve as breeding grounds for insects. During the winter, temperatures can drop as low as -50 degrees F, but on average, the tundra has temperatures that range between -28 degrees Fahrenheit and -20 degrees Celsius.
The tundra is home to many species. Although temperatures here are below freezing all year, some animals can survive the winter months. Some animals live in the tundra year-round, while others migrate in and out during summer.
Plants that live in the tundra
Some plants thrive in the cold climate, including the pasqueflower, a plant found in the tundra and subarctic regions. Its small, oval leaves are covered in a dense mat of small hairs that protect it from the cold. Its stem is also covered with hairs, which helps it insulate itself from the cold climate. Many tundra plants also have dense tussocks, which reduce the loss of water when the temperatures drop below freezing.
The tundra is home to a diverse range of plant species. Many are similar to tree species found in warmer climates, though most are lower to the ground. Despite their low growth rates and short growing seasons, these plants are extremely resilient. They have evolved to survive in these conditions and thrive for only a few months of the year.
Berries are also common in the tundra. The berries are produced from flowers that have bloomed. These berries are edible and provide food for birds and small mammals. They are also used to make wicks for soap stone lamps. These berries may not look particularly pretty, but they do provide a lot of energy.
Mosses are another plant that can survive in the tundra. They do not have any stems or roots, but they have thick leaves that help them absorb moisture. They also act as a protective cover to prevent permafrost from thawing. The type of moss that survives in the tundra depends on how well the soil drains.
Changes in the tundra ecosystem due to global warming
The tundra is the vast area of the Arctic that is devoid of trees and other vegetation. It is also a biome with extreme temperatures and low rainfall. The tundra is also home to many rare species and is at the core of Arctic biodiversity. These include polar bears, lemmings, and reindeer. Changing temperatures in the tundra could threaten the survival of these species.
Climate change is expected to lead to dramatic changes in tundra vegetation. As temperatures rise, more dense and taller vegetation will be able to flourish. This will promote the expansion of forest ecosystems into the tundra and polar deserts. While the timing and magnitude of these changes will vary around the Arctic, they are projected to occur in this century, if not before. Besides these changes, rising sea levels will shrink the tundra area to its smallest extent in the past 21 000 years, limiting breeding and grazing habitat for many birds and land animals.
Air pollution is another problem that threatens tundra habitats. It increases the rate at which snow erodes and decreases the ability of the snow to reflect sunlight, causing it to melt faster. Additionally, the use of chemical aerosol sprays and coolants has contributed to the depletion of ozone at the poles. Moreover, air pollution has led to the accumulation of toxic mercury in the tundra, a problem that threatens humans and animals in the region.
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