Polar habitat are the regions at the top and bottom of the Earth. The northern region is known as the Arctic, and the southern region is called Antarctica. Polar habitats are filled with most of the Earth's polar ice caps, and thus tend to be extremely cold throughout the year. This paper evaluates the polar habitats, in terms of its climate, plants and animal population, and the human population
Polar Habitat Climate
The polar habitats experience only two season, winter and summer. Polar habitat summer is very cold compared to other regions of the earth (Hunter, 2013). During summer, the sun does not set for about six months, especially right at the poles. Likewise, in winter, it remains dark for 24 hours, for six months. Polar habitats temperatures average zero degrees throughout the year. The thick ice cap reflects the sun rays hitting the surface, thus the ground never heats up enough to melt the ice. The ice does not melt even during summer. Rainfall or snow is very scares in polar habitats. Antarctica, for example is the biggest desert in the earth. It is covered by a thick source of ice and experiences very low temperatures, and is the coldest part of the world (Hunter, 2013). Antarctica has the lowest temperature ever recorded of a place on earth of 89.2 0C.
The Arctic Habitat
Polar Habitat: Plants and animals Population
The polar habitat is home to all sorts of living things (Vincent, 2015). Both small and large animals dwell in these remotes areas of the globe, from tiny lichens on the rocky mountains of the Arctic, to the large bears at the Antarctica ice caps, from the small fish in Tundra waters to the large whales swimming south poles waters. Most animals spend their lives in these areas while others migrate to warmer zones with lower altitude especially during winter. Other spend their entire life in these regions as they have learnt to adapt to the harsh conditions both during summer and winter.
Pengiuns swinming in the Arctic Ocean
The treeless landscape of Arctic tundra looks barren and empty from a far, but a closer look reveals countless kinds of animals and plant species (Vincent, 2015). In the northern polar habitat for example, in places, like the north of Canada, Alaska, Russia, and the Scandinavian countries, most of the earth surface have a lesser ice coverage and thus contains a large multitude of animals and plants. Further down south of the northern polar habitat, the ice cap is less thick and thus these areas are covered with vast forest plantations. The northern polar habitat is also a home to polar bears and other unique marine life at the Arctic Ocean.
A polar bear on the Arctic Habitat
The southern polar habitat, also called the Antarctica continent, is covered with a thick ice surface (Vincent, 2015). These regions does not support life, and it is difficult to find any living organism. As a whole, the Antarctica is a cold desert and has the lowest biodiversity of any place on the globe. Nonetheless, there are a few plants and animals that have found home in these regions. The Antarctic Peninsula that goes very far into the North Pole has several species of both plants and animals. The Antarctic tundra, much like the Arctic tundra contains soil filled with partially decomposed plants and animals matters. This thin layer of soils is able to support shallow rooted plants but make is difficult for deep rooted vegetations like trees or shrubs to grow. Similarly the cold climatic conditions as well as the short seasons prevent any large plantations to grow. Most large plantations, like trees or shrubs require temperatures of more than 50 degrees to manage a complete growth cycle. Unlike the Arctic, the Antarctic polar habitats do not have the huge mammals like the whales or the polar bears.
Vegetation in the continent of Antactica
Few people live in the polar habitats. The regions along the North and the South Poles, are uninhabited by people (Hunter, 2013). The only people who venture that far are researchers, polar bears and penguins. The extremely cold temperatures in the polar habitat make them treacherous area for people to live. However, there are people, like the indigenous people, who have lived and continue to live in these habitats.
An Indegenous people homestead
Today, Polar habitats are threatened by global warming, especially the Arctic regions. Global warming is causing ice melting and increasing the sea levels (Hunter, 2013). In the Arctic habitats, Arctic foxes, polar bears and penguins are becoming endangered. This is because of the changing climatic conditions that interfere with the polar habitats that these animals are adapted to, making it more difficult to survive.
Hunter, C. M. (2013). Climate change threatens polar bear populations: a stochastic demographic
Analysis. Ecology, 91(10), 2883-2897.
Vincent, W. F. (2015). Polar Biology in the Arctic and Antarctic habitat. Oxford university press.
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