As one of the coldest places on the planet, the Arctic tundra is a unique ecosystem that has a summer which lasts only two months out of the year. Summer is relative, of course, as temperatures may barely reach the freezing mark on even the warmest days. Despite these temperature challenges, however, life thrives in this biome.
1. The Last Great Frontier
There are some places where humans have reached into the Arctic tundra. There are a few inhabited areas in Northern Alaska, Canada, and Russia that have year-round communities in the biome, but for the most part, the lands of this biome are still largely unexplored because the conditions are not conducive for life.
2. A Life Giver
Greenhouse gases might be warming the planet in the eyes of many, but the Arctic tundra sees this as more of a benefit than a problem. The biome stores more carbon dioxide than it gives off, which makes it a “sink” for the greenhouse gas. As levels increase around the world, however, the amount of gas that the biome can store is reduced.
3. A Cold Desert
What’s the driest place on the planet? Many might say the Sahara Desert or the American Southwest, but it is actually the Arctic tundra. There are fewer than 10 inches of rainfall that occur in this biome over the course of the year.
4. An Eternal Day
Because of its location on the planet, there are times when the Arctic tundra never has the sun truly set. There are also times when the sun never comes up. Since 1/5 of the planet makes up this biome, during the summer or winter, there is 1/5 of the planet that never sees night or day like everyone else.
5. A Fossil Fuel Wonderland
There is access to numerous fossil fuels and other resources in the Arctic tundra. Oil, natural gas, and even precious metals are all readily available. The only problem is that this biome is quite fragile, so mining activities can be very disruptive to the habitat, so the financial gains are sometimes off-set by the natural costs.
The Arctic tundra is a mostly unexplored wonderland that provides some unique benefits to our planet. By keeping interesting facts like these in mind, we can all do a better job of preserving it for future generations.