The Arctic is earth’s northernmost polar region. It mainly consists of the Arctic Ocean and the adjacent seas with a thick, ice surface. Some landmasses also fall into this area on the southern territory. These include parts of Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia.
This area is considered anything north of 66° 33′ N (the Arctic Circle). Days last longer here. It is also the land of the midnight sun and long polar nights. The average winter temperature in is −40 °C but the lowest temperature ever recorded was −68 °C.
Coastal areas are warmer and have stronger snowfalls than the interior areas. The Arctic, as well as Antarctica, experiences the effect of the global warming which results in the diminishing of ice in the Greenland ice sheet and Arctic ice shrinkage while releasing the ice trapped methane gas.
This region is unique amongst earth’s ecosystems. Believe it or not, it is full of life, from native indigenous people to birds, animals, plants and vegetation. All have adapted to the freezing temperatures over time, though sea ice has begun to decrease in recent years.
The vegetation here is mostly tundra type plants, such as dwarf shrubs, herbs, graminoids, lichens, and mosses. They all grow close to the ground and are not tall. That is the reason, why trees don’t grow here. However, scrubs are common there and can reach up to two meters above ground.
Animal species of the tundra region include hare, caribou, musk ox and lemming. You can also meet an Arctic fox, a snowy owl, a wolf or Grizzly bear. The most famous representative of the Arctic fauna – the polar bear – prefers to live in ice areas and hunt for marine animals. Marine mammals in the region include seals, whales, belugas, and walrus. Common species are also wolverines, ermines, and ground squirrels. A lot of birds species live here as well.
The Arctic is not a popular tourist destination. However, if you are an extreme enthusiast, you are welcome to come and explore the region, at least in its tundra part!
May 30, 2016 12:00 am 1 Comment