Arctic and Alpine Biomes (Greenwood Guides to Biomes of the by Joyce A. Quinn

By Joyce A. Quinn

This quantity within the Greenwood publications to Biomes of the realm: sequence covers the biomes at excessive altitudes and close to the poles, together with the arctic tundra biomes, the Mid-Latitude Alpine Tundra Biome (found within the mountain levels of North the USA, Asia, and South America), and the tropical alpine tundra biome (for instance, Hawaii).

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Extra info for Arctic and Alpine Biomes (Greenwood Guides to Biomes of the World)

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Muscular contractions that on the nest first, she is also the first to change fluff up feathers increase the thickness of insulation, but thick fur on mammals cannot be so easto speckled camouflage plumage in spring. ily fluffed. Introduction to Arctic and Alpine Biomes Animals may control the amount of metabolic heat their bodies produce by increased activity such as running, digging, or shivering. Ptarmigan feathers, however, provide such good insulation that the birds have no need to shiver.

Precipitation. Precipitation varies according to continental or coastal position and location with respect to wind direction and mountains, but is generally low. Most precipitation falls as snow, even in summer. Precipitation in Iceland, the northeast Atlantic, and Russia west of the Urals is high for the Arctic, 15–30 in (380–750 mm), and decreases toward the east. In northwestern Siberia east of the Ural Mountains, which are a precipitation barrier, annual precipitation drops to about 10 in (250 mm).

Arctic precipitation is generally low because cold air cannot hold much water vapor. Coastal regions along warm currents, such as Iceland, Norway, and southern Alaska, are wetter, with up to 30 in (750 mm) or more precipitation a year, but the cold airmasses more common to the Arctic produce 10 in (250 mm) or less. Availability of moisture for plants, however, also depends on substrate and wind conditions. Wind often redistributes sparse snow cover, leaving some regions quite dry. Sublimation of frozen water into dry air also robs soil of needed moisture by eliminating snowmelt.

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