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Polar Regions - Arctic Tundra

Life Science - Middle School

 
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Polar Regions: Arctic Tundra The arctic is the one continent on Earth that is made up of very little actual land it is mostly frozen ocean. The ice pack of the arctic is about 9 feet thick (3 m). It is a place of extremes. In summer, the ice pack drifts in the ocean under 24-hour daylight, while in winter it freezes solid in 24-hour darkness. The arctic has no mountains, but includes the North Pole, the northernmost point on earth. The highest point is at sea level, an elevation of 0. The part of the arctic that is land includes some northern islands and the northern edges of Europe, Asia, North America and Greenland. These areas are called the arctic tundra. The arctic tundra has no trees, and the ground is frozen almost all year long with permafrost. The top layer of the soil, above the permafrost, does melt in the summer and grows hearty plants in the short 2-month growing season. Because the frozen permafrost sits below the soil, there is no place for melted snow to go; so the arctic tundra stays wet and boggy in the summer months. This makes it a hard place to travel across and a perfect habitat for waterborne insects like mosquitoes. The mosquito season on the tundra may be short, but it is fierce! Considering its fierce climate, it might be surprising that many animals live in the arctic landscape, including the musk ox (1), snow goose (2), caribou (3), lemming (4), arctic fox (5), arctic wolf (6), arctic hare (7), arctic tern (8), ptarmigan (9), polar bear (10), puffins (11), dall sheep (12), and weasel (13). Some animals survive in the arctic by hibernating through the coldest months of winter, but others like the mighty musk ox, just huddle together in the howling wind and scrape through the snow to the grass beneath. In addition to the land dwelling animals, plenty of arctic wildlife are adapted for life in the frigid waters, including clams (14), sockeye salmon (15), arctic grayling (16), harp seals (17), fur seals (18), narwhals (19), beluga whales (20), killer whales (21), walrus (22) and even the vital phytoplankton (23) on which the fish and invertebrates feed. 4 1 3 5 8 9 6 7 10 11 12 19 18 17 16 15 13 21 22 23 14 20 2 Sheri Amsel
94-4014 4 1 3 5 8 9 6 7 10 11 12 19 18 17 16 15 13 21 22 23 14 20 2 Sheri Amsel Considering its fierce climate, it might be surprisng that many animals live in the arctic landscape, including the _______________________ ________ (1), snow _______________________ (2), _______________________ (3), _______________________ (4), arctic _____________ (5), arctic _______________________ (6), arctic hare (7), arctic tern (8), ptarmigan (9), _______________________ _______________________(10), _______________________ (11), dall _______________________ (12) and _______________________ (13). Some animals survive in the arctic by hibernating through the coldest months of winter, but others like the mighty musk ox, just huddle together in the howling wind and scrape through the snow to the grass beneath. In addition to the land dwelling animals, plenty of arctic wildlife are adapted for life in the frigid waters, including _______________________ (14), sockeye _______________________ (15), arctic _______________________ (16), harp _______________________ (17), _______________________ seals (18), _______________________ (19), _______________________ whales (20), _______________________ whales (21), _______________________ (22) and even the vital ____________________________________ (23) on which the fish and invertebrates feed. Polar Regions: Arctic Tundra
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