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The Canadian Arctic
Transcript of The Canadian Arctic
The Canadian Arctic
By Jacinta, Kate and Laura
The arctic is the northernmost region of Canada. Though it may seem plain and arid, the arctic is home to many hardy plants and animals. Buried deep beneath the frozen ground, the arctic harbors riches from copper to petroleum to diamonds. In the cold and dark winters, there are days when the sun is never seen at all. On the contrary, a summer phenomenon called the "midnight sun" occurs when the sun never dips below the horizon once for twenty four hours straight.
The arctic is a wonderful region that is definitely worth a visit! Whether you spend 5 days up north or 5 months, you'll be sure to have yourself a good time. There are many things to do and see in the arctic! You can take your children dog sledding, watch the northern lights, go ice fishing, whale hunting, igloo-building and much, much more!
They're actually THREE major parts
to the Arctic, which makes your vacation selection even broader! These three parts
are called the Northern Arctic, Southern Arctic and the Arctic Cordillera. We have provided some background information, so choosing your perfect destination will be that much easier!
In the Northern Arctic, there are a limited amount of plants that grow in this area, and their length of growth is short. The limited number of plants are due to the fact that the Northern Arctic has below-freezing temperatures and winds mostly all year long. The organisms that dominate this area are Cotton grass, Sedge, Dwarf Heath, Shrubs, Mosses and Lichens.
In the Southern Arctic there is a layer of soil that stays frozen the entire year called Permafrost. Arctic soil is surprisingly moist because this layer of frozen soil prevents drainage, however, plants grow slowly due to lack of nutrients. During the summer, the heat thaws the top layer of soil and that's when most growth happens in the south. Plants that grow in the Southern Arctic are Dwarf birch, Labrador tea, Lingonberry, and Willow.
The Arctic Cordillera is the northern-most region in the Arctic. The plants that grow here adapt to the extremely cold desert-like conditions and endure high winds however, vegetation is still sparse. In this area, mosses and lichens dominate.
The Arctic animals rely heavily on the vegetation that grows during the summer. In general, food for animals is plentiful in the summer and scarce in the winter. During the summer, herbivores like lemmings, hares and caribou thrive. This provides food for predators in the winter such as snowy owls, arctic foxes and wolves.
Animals Of the Arctic
If you or your family are keen on spotting some arctic wildlife, it is recommended to visit during the summer months. Many companies offer dogsled tours or snowmobile tours, which could bring you very close to the animals; an experience you don't want to miss out on!
If you plan on visiting the Canadian Arctic, make sure you are aware of the temperature for the time that you wish to visit. The Arctic has a very short summer, where the average temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius. During the long winter, the temperature can drop to as low as -60 degrees C. However, the arctic is not always this cold. In some cases, it can reach up to 30 degrees Celsius. This is possible because the arctic is exposed to so much sunlight in the short summers. With the arctic tilted towards the sun in the summer, it never turns away to a point where the sky is light for over a day straight.
One of the great advantages to the cold climate is the type of experience it creates. Because the temperature is generally pretty cold, the vegetation and animals adapt to be able to live, it's fascinating! Up in the arctic, it almost feels like it's a completely different world compared to say, Toronto or Vancouver.
A summer in the arctic
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Arctic ice makes up a large portion of land in the arctic during the winter months. In areas where warm water wells up and where strong winds blow, you may find polynyas (open water areas) and shoreleads (long, linear cracks), where sea life flourishes. These are the perfect spots for ice fishing. So grab your fishing rod, find a nice crack in the ice, and see what sorts of fish you can catch!
The aurora borealis, or northern lights, are a must-see natural phenomenon. When charged particles from the sun funnel into the sky over the north pole, they produce a fascinating light show that can only be seen in his region of Canada.
A once in a lifetime experience, exclusive to the arctic: dog sledding. The arctic is actually a desert. You may picture a hot, sandy, dry area with cacti and rattlesnakes when you hear the word desert, but the arctic, in its contrasting appearance, is also a desert. The ice covered, desert-like ground makes a dog sledding trip very enjoyable. The limited precipitation (only 5-25 cm annually) practically guarantees a great day.
Though the arctic appears to be quite solid on a map, a large portion of it is actually sea ice. Coastlines and islands are locked in ice from October to June, if not longer. The sea ice is easy for dogsleds to travel across in areas where there are no roads. Though ice drifts away and melts, there is always new ice being formed coming in to take its place, making it quite a reliable method of transportation.
A stunning photo of the northern lights