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Transcript of Polar lands
By Joshua Waldron
What are Polar lands?
Polar lands are very cold areas covered with thick layers of ice. They play an important role in the world's weather and marine ecosystems. Very few people live in these areas because of the extreme cold, their remoteness and the lack of resources such as food and trees.
Where are Polar Lands Found?
The Arctic has a long winter and a short summer and gets approximately 50cm of precipitation a year, mostly as snow. The Arctic has an ocean surrounded by large land masses that helps to give the Arctic a summer season. The average temperature of the Arctic is -40C but in summer the temperature can get up to -2C or even 30C in some parts. The ocean water under the Arctic ice pack never gets colder than -2C and this regulates the temperature of the Arctic and means the Arctic is not the coldest place in the northern hemisphere.
The Antarctic is the coldest place on Earth and gets less than 20cm of precipitation a year making it more like a desert. Very strong winds pick up flakes of ice and snow and deposit them elsewhere.
The polar regions help circulate air around the world. Warmer air that reaches the poles is cooled and dried and this makes it drop down closer to the earth as high pressure.
The Arctic ice pack was formed by the freezing of the ocean water. Every year it grows in summer and shrinks in winter. The ice pack is moved by the ocean currents. Sometimes parts of the ice pack break away and the knock into each other.
How does Climate Change affect Polar lands?
Air temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as much as the global average. The melting ice dumps fresh water into the ocean which raises sea levels and affects marine life. Scientists estimate the world's sea levels will rise by 1.4 meters by 2100 and that the summer time ice pack in the Arctic might disappear in 30 years.
Why are the Polar Lands so important?
The Polar Lands are important for many reasons:
Many species of marine life rely on the polar regions to survive, like whales, penguins, seals and Polar Bears.
Traditional people like the Inuit rely on the Arctic environment to survive.
Polar regions cools and dries the world's air, help air currents like the jet-streams flow and help create weather patterns.
Antarctica has 90% of the world's ice and 70% of the world's fresh water.
A lot of the world's plankton comes from the Antarcitc and this is important in the marine food-chain.
When the ice in Polar regions melts the global sea levels rise affecting all of us.
Polar Lands are located at the top and bottom of the Earth.
The Arctic surrounds the North Pole and includes the northern parts of America, Russia and Scandinavia and the Arctic ocean which has a permanent ice pack floating on it.
The Antarctic surrounds the South Pole and is much larger and colder. It is mostly made up of land covered by ice 1 mile thick and has tall mountains.
In the map in the background you can see that the polar land is at the top and bottom of the globe (in green).
The Polar Lands are so cold because they:
The sun's rays have to travel longer to the earth
The sun's rays reach the surface at an oblique angle which makes it spread across a larger surface of area.
Snow and ice reflect the Sun's rays.
Most of the year the sunlight is either dim or non-existent.
Climate Change occurs naturally but humans have accelerated the process by releasing large amounts of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. Heat is trapped in the Earth's atmosphere through the greenhouse effect where the sun's rays are not able to be reflected back into outer space. The Polar regions are particularly sensitive to the increase to the overall average temperature of the atmosphere.
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In this assignment I have learned how important the Polar Lands are to the entire Earth. I also learned a lot about how we are destroying the beautiful landscape and the habitats of many wonderful creatures that have adapted to the vast temperature and other obstacles.
In the Antarctic the high winds picks up snow and ice and blows it elsewhere. Huge glaciers move slowly to the sea and ice sheets break off into the ocean. Waves push icebergs into the glaciers or other icebergs.
Subglacial water works like a glue to stop a glacier slipping into the ocean.
Abiotic & Biotic Factors of Polar Regions | The Classroom | Synonym. 2014. Abiotic & Biotic Factors of Polar Regions | The Classroom | Synonym. [ONLINE] Available at: http://classroom.synonym.com/abiotic-biotic-factors-polar-regions-15818.html. [Accessed 27 July 2014].
Huge subglacial water system in Antarctica said as big as Everglades - UPI.com. 2014. Huge subglacial water system in Antarctica said as big as Everglades - UPI.com. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2013/07/09/Water-under-antarctic-glacier-could-have-impact-on-sea-level-rises/UPI-55351373404429/. [Accessed 10 August 2014].
What makes up an environment?, Global environments, Global environments A, SOSE: Geography Year 8, SA | Online Education Home Schooling Skwirk Australia. 2014. What makes up an environment?, Global environments, Global environments A, SOSE: Geography Year 8, SA | Online Education Home Schooling Skwirk Australia. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-57_u-183_t-489_c-1789/SA/8/What-makes-up-an-environment/Global-environments/Global-environments-part-A/SOSE-Geography/. [Accessed 10 August 2014].