The Polar Ice Biome.

The polar ice biome actually consists of two biomes, both on opposite ends of the world; the north and south poles. These biomes are defined as being high and lowaltitude areas where the energy from the sun is weak enough for water to freeze and create pack ice (North Pole) and ice sheets (South Pole). The polar ice caps are very similar to the arctic tundra in that many of the same organisms can be found in both the tundra and the ice caps. While it may not seem like there is much to the ice caps, there is actually an abundance of wildlife living both on the ice and below it in the water. Wildlife that can be found in polar ice includes but is not limited to: Polar bears, arctic wolves, arctic foxes, wolverines, lemmings, ermines, arctic hare, musk oxen, caribou, snowy Owls, and gyr Falcons. There is a smaller abundance of plants in the polar ice than in most other biomes, these include: Wildflowers, Arctic Poppies, Arctic Azaleas, Arctic Lupine, Mosses, Grasses, Lichens, and small shrubs like the Arctic Willow. The polar ice caps are very extreme biomes. During the summer, the sun is out all day for about three months. Then, during winter, the sun is barely seen between late October and mid-March. The average annual temperature is 7 degrees Fahrenheit. The average winter temperature is -29 degrees Fahrenheit. The average summer temperature is 29 degrees Fahrenheit. The ice provides shelter and habitat for the animals and plants that live there. Many animals, including polar bears, make dens in the snow for hibernation during the winter. The animals that make their homes in the ice caps have many special adaptations that allow them to survive. Almost all of the animals found in the ice caps have white coats during the winter season, only the polar bear keeps its white

coat year round. The ermine, arctic hare, lemming, arctic fox, and arctic ground squirrels change their fur color to a grayish-brown coat for the spring and summer. Although there are many animals that make their home in the polar ice caps, there so called "home sweet home" is disappearing little by little at a rapid pace. The home to the many artic creatures is melting due to the global warming. Never mind what you've heard about global warming, as a slow-motion emergency that would take decades to play out. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the crisis is upon us. Global warming is already disrupting the biological world, pushing many species to the brink of extinction and the worst is yet to come. If there was any consolation, it was that the glacial pace of nature would give us decades or even centuries to sort out the problem. Global warming could cause polar bears to go extinct by the end of the century by eroding the sea ice that sustains them, according to the most comprehensive international assessment ever done of Arctic climate change. The thinning of sea ice, which is projected to shrink by at least half by the end of the century and could disappear altogether, according to some computer models, could determine the fate of many other key Arctic species. Researchers concluded that some areas in the Arctic have warmed 10 times as fast as the world as a whole, which has warmed an average of 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past century. The sea ice in Hudson Bay, Canada, now breaks up 2 1/2 weeks earlier than it did 30 years ago, and as a result female polar bears there weigh 55 pounds less than they did then. Assuming the current rate of ice shrinkage and accompanying weight loss in the Hudson Bay region, bears there could become so thin by 2012 they may no longer be able to reproduce.

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