The Arctic Desert is located in the Arctic Ocean basin. The entire space is part of the Arctic geographical zone and is considered the most unfavorable area for living. The desert area is covered with glaciers, rock fragments and rubble.
Arctic desert climate
The harsh climate contributes to the formation of ice and snow covers that persist throughout the year. The average temperature in winter is30 degrees, the maximum can reach60 degrees.
Due to the harsh climatic conditions, a small number of animals live in the Arctic desert, and there is practically no vegetation. This natural area is characterized by strong hurricane winds and snowstorms. Even in summer, desert regions are minimally illuminated, and the soil does not have time to completely thaw. In the “hot” season, the temperature rises to zero degrees. It is usually cloudy in the desert and it often rains with snow. Due to the strong evaporation of water from the ocean, the formation of fogs.
The Arctic desert is adjacent to the North Pole of the planet and is located above 75 degrees north latitude. Its area is 100 thousand. km². The surface occupies part of the territory of Greenland, the North Pole, some islands where people live and animals live. Mountains, flat areas, glaciers components of the Arctic desert. They can be of different shapes and sizes, have a distinct patterned structure.
Arctic deserts of Eurasia
The southern border of the Arctic desert of Eurasia is about. Wrangel, northern about. Franz Josef Lands. The zone includes the northern outskirts of the Taimyr Peninsula, about. Novaya Zemlya, New Siberian Islands, seas located between land areas. Despite the harsh nature in this area, the picture truly looks fabulous and bewitching: immense glaciers stretch around, and the surface is covered with snow all year round. Several times a year the air temperature rises to 0-+5 degrees. Precipitation falls in the form of frost, snow, frost (no more than 400 mm). This area is characterized by strong winds, fogs, cloudiness.
In total, the area of the Arctic deserts of Eurasia is 56 thousand. km². As a result of the movement of continental ice on the coast and their frequent washing with water, icebergs form. The proportion of glaciers ranges from 29.6 to 85.1%.
Plants and animals of the arctic desert
Like the arctic tundra, the desert is considered a harsh place to live. However, in the first case, it is much easier for animals to survive, since they can feed on the gifts of the tundra. In the desert, the conditions are much tougher and it is extremely difficult to get food. Despite this, the territory is covered with open vegetation, which occupies half of the entire desert. There are no trees and shrubs here, but small areas with lichen, moss, algae located on rocky ground can be found. Herbaceous vegetation is represented by sedges and grasses. In the Arctic desert, you can also find grains, polar poppy, starfish, pike, buttercup, mint, alpine foxtail, saxifrage and other species.
Seeing an island with greenery, one gets the impression of an oasis located in the depths of endless ice and snow. The soil is frozen and thin (it remains so almost all year round). Permafrost penetrates to a depth of 600-1000 m and causes difficulty in water drainage. In the warm season, lakes of melt water appear in the desert. Nutrients in the composition of the soil are practically absent, it contains a lot of sand.
In total, there are no more than 350 higher plant species. In the south of the desert you can find bushes of the polar willow and dryad.
Due to the lack of phytomass, the fauna in the ice zone is very scarce. Only 16 species of birds live here, among which there are little auks, guillemots, fulmars, glaucous gulls, kittiwakes, guillemots, snowy owls and others. Terrestrial fauna includes arctic wolves, Novaya Zemlya deer, musk oxen, lemmings and arctic foxes. Representatives of pinnipeds are walruses and seals.
About 120 species of animals live in the desert, among which are squirrels, wolves, hares, whales, arctic voles. All representatives of the animal world are adapted to harsh climatic conditions and are able to survive in extreme situations. Animals have thick hair and a thick layer of fat, which helps to survive the cold.
Polar bears are considered the main inhabitants of the Arctic deserts.
Mammals live both on land and in water. Bears breed on the northern coast of Cape Zhelaniy, Chukotka, about. Lands of Francis Joseph. The Wrangel Island nature reserve is located in the harsh territories, where about 400 dens for mammals are equipped. This area is called the “maternity hospital” for polar bears.
Trout, flounder, salmon and cod are representatives of the fish. Insects such as mosquitoes, grasshoppers, moths, flies, midges and arctic bumblebees live in the desert.
Natural resources of the arctic desert
Despite unfavorable living conditions, the Arctic desert is quite attractive for mining. The main natural resources are oil and gas. In addition, in snow-covered areas you can find fresh water, catch valuable fish species and get other minerals. Unique, untouched, fascinating glaciers attract thousands of tourists bringing additional economic benefits.
Arctic areas also have deposits of copper, nickel, mercury, tin, tungsten, platinoids and rareearth elements. In the desert, you can find stocks of precious metals (silver and gold).
The biodiversity of this region largely depends on the person. Violation of the natural habitat of animals, or the slightest change in soil cover can lead to serious consequences. To date, it is the Arctic that is one of the main sources of fresh water, as it contains up to 20% of the world stock.