Arctic Polar Desert
An ecoregion covering the island groups of Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, Severny Island and Severnaya Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean, this Arctic Polar Desert is characterised by typography such as tundra, glaciers, and snow.
“The sand was collected in Nybyen, close to the river and represents a sample from the Longyear Valley, on advice from the local government office. The material had already been excavated for a closed project and would be levelled towards the end of the summer. The samples consisted of rock and mud, rather than granular sand.” Charlotte Hetherington and Lisa Bakk Bøen, Artica Svalbard
Polar deserts are one of two polar biomes, the other being Arctic tundra. These biomes are located at the poles of Earth, covering much of the Antarctic in the southern hemisphere, and in the northern hemisphere extending from the Arctic into North America, Europe and Asia. Unlike the tundra that can support plant and animal life in the summer, polar deserts are largely barren environments, comprising permanent, flat layers of ice.
This Arctic desert ecoregion is is characterized by long, cold winters and very short summers. Plant life is scarce due to the cold climate, but there is moss and lichen vegetation at low elevations and where bare rock or soil exists. The largest colonies of Ivory gull are found in the region, as well as Atlantic walrus and Polar bear.