Tundra is a biome typified by permafrost, permanently frozen ground, that is found in polar regions and isolated patches at the tops of mountains. Air PollutionIndustrial air pollutants, such as organochlorines and heavy metals, are carried to the arctic on air currents from populated areas. Human DevelopmentLarge reserves of oil, natural gas, diamonds and other minerals have been found beneath the tundra, leading to the construction of roads, mines and drilling operations. Based in Wenatchee, Wash., Andrea Becker specializes in biology, ecology and environmental sciences.
The protected area is home to great hammerhead sharks, manta rays, whale sharks, and tiger sharks. Protecting Earth's Tundra HabitatsThe tundras that cover a tenth of Earth's land are essentially frozen bogs with little vegetation diversity.
The National Geographic Society aims to be an international leader for global conservation and environmental sustainability. Arctic temperatures have risen three to five degrees over the past 50 years and models forecast that this may double in the future.

Lichens are a dominant life form on the tundra, and they are particularly vulnerable to air pollution because they lack roots and get the majority of their resources from the air. The land where development takes place is obviously affected, but indirect effects include disrupted migration routes, road dust that chokes plants and lichens, and the potential for oil spills.
For example, the snow geese nesting on Canadian tundra have increased by 5 to 7 percent annually since 1965, from around 500 thousand to estimates of around 5 million. Their short height makes them less vulnerable to strong tundra winds, and shallow roots allow them to pull moisture from the soil above the permafrost. But these are among the most sensitive habitats in the world.The most severe threat is global warming.
When individuals pledge to use less water in their own lives, our partners carry out restoration work in the Colorado River Basin. Historically, tundra hasn’t been able to support much human life, and has remained relatively free of human disturbance, but humans are increasingly impacting this biome both directly and indirectly. All of this adds up and we now impact much more of the tundra biome than we did in the past.

Many scientists believe global warming caused by greenhouse gases may eliminate Arctic regions, including the tundras there, forever.Another concern is that about one-third of the world's soil-bound carbon is in tundra permafrost. Air pollution has also led to a persistent 'arctic haze' that contributes to acid rain and settles on the ground, hastening snowmelt. Geese need to eat, and the limited nesting areas become denuded of vegetation as the geese eat themselves out of house and home.
Climate change has led to larger and more frequent wildfires, such as the largest tundra fire in recorded history in Alaska in 2007.
It is very difficult to quantify how much change has already happened and even more difficult to model the future. The impacts of air pollution are intertwined with other effects and are difficult to quantify.

National weather alert system
Geographic response plans


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