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For the tundra biome, being categorized as the youngest of them all is interesting. They likely formed during the Ice Age. However, what is now called the tundra biome is believed to have become fully structured about 10,000 years ago. There is only about 20% of the entire areas in this world that are part of this particular biome.
The Arctic regions are where the tundra biomes are found. These are the coldest of all regions in the world. They continue to be cold as the air from the Arctic miss with the polar masses. Most of the time there are winter like conditions in the tundra biome. There is a short period when it warms up some and even a few full days of sunlight around the clock. However, the temperatures rarely warm up enough for much of the snow or ice to ever melt.
You will often hear the term permafrost associated with the tundra biome. This is due to the fact that the snow and ice stay permanently in all about 25% of the areas. When those areas do get enough sunlight they can start to melt and leave muddy areas behind as evidence of what was once in place.
The coldest place on Earth and part of the tundra biome is Greenland. A great deal of Alaska is also this type of biome. However, people do live and work there due to the vast business of the oil pipe lines. Both Canada and Russia have some tundra biomes found in the Northern portions of them. This is the biome that seems to have the lowest number of humans living there or visiting due to the extreme conditions.
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One of the problems for most people to deal with in the tundra biome is the extreme cold. When it is the warmest part of the year you will be lucky to find it around 40 degrees. However, this will only be the case for up to eight weeks. The rest of the year it is much colder than that. In the heart of the winter it can be -50 degrees!
The annual rainfall in the tundra biome is no more than 30 inches. That moisture comes from snow pack and ice. It is interesting that up to 75% of the terrain here is always covered with snow and or ice. It is called permafrost as it never goes away. In the other 25% there is the some melting of the ice and snow due to the warmer temperatures.
There are more plants that live in the tundra biome than animals. That means there is more carbon dioxide being removed from the air than released into it. This is why there is such clean air in many parts of the tundra biome. However, some experts believe this can also be a contributing factor to global warming issues.
That is a huge concern because if the temperatures warm up in the tundra biome, areas of permafrost could end up melting and flooding. The plants and animals that walk on the snow and ice may end up in a dangerous situation. They may end up not being able to survive with the extra water in place.
Tundra Biome Video
While most of the tundra biomes don’t have many people in them, they aren’t desolate. In many locations such as Alaska people are working on oil rigs and in mines. This can be stressful for the environment due to pollution. Even roads being put in place in some areas is a problem. Still, many efforts continue to be in place to try to make it work for both humans and the live forms in the tundra biome.
Another area of worry for many experts is insect population. Birds are migratory, and they often come through the tundra biomes. There they will find water to drink and lots of insects to feed on. However, humans in this biome aren’t happy with the nuisance of the insects. Therefore, they want to get rid of them .The use of pesticides is a common way to do so. This kills them so the birds have less to eat. It also releases a high volume of harmful chemicals into the tundra biome environment.
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The Caribou also know as Reindeer in Europe. This is the only species of deer where both the males and the females will develop antlers.
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Flora and Fauna
It is amazing how some of the animals living in the tundra biome are able to survive. One that is very interesting is the Arctic Fox. It is a small animal with thick fur to help it in the cold environment. One of the adaptations that it has made is to burrow under the ground when it is extremely cold. They also feed on leftovers from the Polar Bear and other types of hunters so they usually find plenty of food.
The Caribou also live here and there are large numbers of them. Both sexes grow antlers which is very interesting for a deer species. Typically, it is only the males that do so. They rely on thick hooves to walk in the snow and to not slip when they are in the mud. Those hooves and antlers help them to dig too so that they can find food under the snow.
There are 48 species of animals that live in the tundra biome. A few others there include the Grizzly Bear and the Polar Bear. There are more than 2,000 different species of plants found in this biome. It is amazing that they are able to thrive in an area that is so cold and when the wind can easy move at a speed of up to 100 miles per hour.
Tundra Biome Video
The various forms of moss that grow in the tundra biome are vital. They are a main source of food for so many different animals here. You will also find 400 different species of flowers in the tundra biome. Various forms of willow and grass are also abundant. Many experts believe that there are many more types of plants and animals living in the tundra biome that we have yet to learn about. It can be very exciting to think about many of them being identified in the years to come.
There are several reasons why so much has yet to be discovered in the tundra biome. First, such research is very expensive and time consuming. There simply isn’t enough money to cover the cost of such processes. When you consider all of the money right now being used for conservation it is a trade off. It doesn’t made sense to let some plants and animals we know of die out while we strive to find new ones.
The extreme cold is another concern as most people really can’t handle it well. It can be risky for researchers to go to the tundra biome and explore for other signs of living elements there. Putting their own lives on the line isn’t a good idea. Finally, many worry about such exploration being stressful to the plants and animals that are already known about. They don’t want to create a difficult environment for them to live in.
While the conditions in the tundra biome can be extremely difficult, there are some animals out there and plenty of plants that are able to handle it. They are remarkable to explore and they are also very important to the many other biomes in the world.