ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Greenland: Plants, Animals, and Climate

Updated on April 4, 2014
Source

True tree species do not exist naturally in Greenland. Practically all vegetation disappeared during the ice age. The existing plant life has since immigrated to the island, chiefly from North America. In the southwest, in the relatively mild climate, the vegetation is richest. There are wooded areas of birch (Betula nana), willow, and alder in the protected inner fjords. Elsewhere in Greenland a variety of tundras exist, with grasses and sedges, often in typical tussock forms, and flowering plants and berry bushes.

The Eskimo made little use of Greenland's plant life as a source of food. According to early accounts the Norse settlers found good natural pasturage and kept many cattle and sheep and made quantities of butter and cheese. Most of the ice-free areas in Greenland are desert, as the vegetation is restricted by low temperatures in the east and low temperatures and aridity in the north.

Source

Land mammals in Greenland are of various species. The musk-ox is found in the north and east. The wild reindeer (caribou) is still found in the west. Small herbivores, such as the ermine and lemming, are widespread. The Arctic wolf is found in the north and east and the Arctic fox in both the blue and white phases along most of the coasts. There are polar bears, although their numbers have been reduced by hunters.

The most valuable mammals in Greenland's economy have been the sea mammals—whales and seals. In the 1920s, climatic changes caused the seals to move north, and Atlantic cod appeared off the Davis Strait coast about the same time. Other fish include halibut and shark (valuable for its liver), and salmon in lakes and streams. There are also shrimp.

Birdlife includes many migrant species from America that summer in Greenland. The snowy owl and ptarmigan winter in Greenland; the snow bunting and raven are among the commonest land birds; and the Greenland falcon is perhaps the most famous.

Source

The coasts of Greenland typically have long, cold winters and short, cool summers; there are, however, great variations between different parts of the country. In the southwest the climate is distinctly maritime, with summer temperatures averaging 45° to 50° F (7°–10° C) while the winters are somewhat more variable with the lowest monthly mean, generally in February, between 5° and 15° F (−15°–−9° C) near the major settlements. Along the west coast mean winter temperatures decrease uniformly from about 24° F (−4° C) near Cape Farewell to −25° F (−32° C) in the northwest. Annual precipitation also decreases rapidly from south to north. There is evidence that in the 10th century, when Norse settlers arrived in southwest Greenland, the climate was milder than today, although it was still marginal for agriculture. The island's climate became more severe in the 13th century, and this may partly account for the disappearance of Norse colonists.

Peary Land and the northeast coast in winter are characterized by great aridity and exceptionally low temperatures. The ice cap has its own climate, with severe cold at all times of the year, especially in the north. In winter the mean temperature of the air over the ice cap is below −25° F; in summer the air temperature is close to the freezing point. The southern part of the ice cap is particularly stormy, since cyclonic disturbances pass over southern Greenland. The northern part, on the other hand, is calmer and the precipitation correspondingly less. The ice cap influences the climate of the coastal areas, which are subjected to strong, local winds off the ice.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Bryce 

      3 years ago

      Pretty helpful

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)