Flashcards in Cold Environments Deck (16)
Why are cold environments Fragile?
Due to the harsh climate, means that the environment is easy to damage and take a longer period of time to recover.
- Short growing season, plants don't have much time to recover if they are damaged.
- Plants only able to grow slowly
- Plants and animals adapted to cold environment, so hard to recover from change
- Decay is slow, so pollutants are broken down very slowly.
How have indigenous people created sustainable living?
Inuit people. Lifestyles are adapted to the landscape and the climate, populations are small meaning lifestyles re sustainable with minimal damage.
Recent human activities?
- Oil extraction
- Hydroelectric power
Oil extraction impacts?
1. Oil spills. E.G. 1989 spill off the coast of Alaska.
40 million litres of oil spilled
250000 birds and fish killed
2. Oil spills if pipelines leak. Between 1977-1994, aprox. 30-40 spills a year from Trans-Alaska Pipeline
1. Disrupt food chains, such as Krill in Southern Ocean depleting food supplies for whales and Penguins.
2. Overfishing - deplete population
1. Large cruise ships increase pollution
2. disrupt wildlife, damage habitats and lead to reduce biodiversity
1. Lead to ground water contamination, such as GREENLAND, closed 1990 but still high levels of zinc and lead.
2. Produce solid waste and wastewater, polluting environment.
Hydroelectric power impacts?
1. Dams can block the normal migration of fish. Prevent them reaching spawning grounds, fish population decrease.
2. Can also heat up water, which can endanger fish.
Current impacts of climate change on cold environments?
- Melting glaciers and ice sheets causing sea levels to rise.
- Permafrost is melting (ALASKA) cause buildings to collapse and ice roads to be less passable.
- Migration patterns of species change
What are the predicted impacts of climate change on cold environments?
- Sea level rise further, flood low lying coastal cold environments
- Melting permafrost could trigger positive feedback loop, as more methane is released from trapped permafrost
- Plants and animals struggle to adapt and survive.
How are cold environments managed?
- Protected areas
- International treaties
- Monitoring and Regulation
- Fishing quotas
What are the four types of cold environments?
Whats a glacial environment?
Areas of land permanently covered in ice. Land covered by glaciers or ice sheets.
Temperatures are cold enough for ice to be present all year round, warm enough for some summer meltwater yo affect glaciers.
No exposed soil, very few plants, some algae and moss may grow in summer.
What is a polar environment?
Surround the North and South Pole.
Temperatures are never normally above 10 degrees.
Precipitation low, no more than 100mm per year.
if small area of soil exposed, will be thin and nutrient poor. Permafrost beneath soil.
Few plants, some lichen ad mosses.
What is a Alpine environment?
Cold areas of land at an altitude about treelike. May include areas of glacial conditions and periglacial conditions.
Cold winters, mid summers, temp decrease as altitude increases.
soil exposed when ice melts in summer, allow some plants and alpine flowers/ grasses to grow.