SEE: Glaciation: 2A.10C

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  • 2A.10C: Environmental importance of glaciated landscapes
    • Biodiversity
      • Polar and glaciated landscapes have low levels of biodiversity
        • Lots of interdependency, if one species is removed it can impact entire food chain
      • The landscape is tundra, with vegetation such as shrubs, mosses, sedges
        • Tundra plants and animals have adapted to the short growing season and harsh climate
          • They are HIGHLY vulnerable to environmental stresses
      • Arctic environments are important for many bird migrations
        • As they feed their young in the short Arctic summer
      • Other animals (caribou, reindeer) migrate to these environments throughout the year
      • They have a slow nutrient cycle, meaning if there is disruption (litter) then decomposition takes longer
    • Maintaining natural systems
      • Carbon
        • 14% of carbon stored in permafrost, because of limited decomposition
        • Suggestion of negative feedback. Warming will release carbon, encouraging plant growth, therefore reducing carbon again
          • HOWEVER, the effects may be transitional, and carbon is still being released from lakes, streams, bogs
        • Arctic amplification
          • Albedo, rocks, and permafrost positive feedback cycles
      • Water
        • Glaciated landscapes are a valuable store of water, and also release meltwater in summer
        • Summer meltwater is a valuable source of water in many parts of the world
        • E.g. Arapho Glacier in Colorado provides 260 million gallons of water for the city of Boulder
    • Tundra
      • Growth is rapid in the short summer (3 months), and dormant in winter
      • Hottest month is -10, coolest is -18


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