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Blowin' in the Wind, Issue #055 Warm Wetlands and their Climates. - June 1, 2008
May 28, 2008
Guest Article: Wetlands and their Climates
If you live in America, you are probably familiar with the Bayou wetlands and their climates. The Bayou is an intense environment that is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the wild, and some of the most ferocious creatures. But what exactly is the Bayou? It is a wetland. What is commonly known as wetlands, and their climates?
You've probably noticed the keyword in "Wetlands and their climates" that gives you the best idea of what it takes to make up the wetlands…would have to be "Wet!" Yes, wet is the first term that should come to mind when studying the wetlands and their climates because wetlands would not be wetlands without lots and lots of water. So much water, that the soil itself is saturated to the hilt. This brings us to the definition of a wetland.
According to the U.S. Military, wetlands are, "those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetations typically adapted for life in saturated soils. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas."
Or in common English, a wetland is an area of land that gets saturated to such an extent with water that the plant life that grows there is specifically adapted to surviving in water saturated soil, a swamp climate. Simple enough.
REALative HumiditySo what makes the wetland special? Well, to be quite frank, wetlands are only as interesting as the immense wildlife and strange flora that live and flourish there. From mangroves to crocodiles to water lilies to muskrats, wetlands sure boast a vast array of strange and interesting wildlife. Maybe even some rain forest animals.
It seems that everything that grows in the wetlands droops under the weight of the water itself. If you have ever seen willows growing out of the swamp, and lily pad stems stooped lazily over the water, you know exactly what I am talking about. Also, as a rule, most of the plant life in the wetlands can survive a very low level of oxygen at the root level because they spend much of their lifetime underwater. Not to mention the trees themselves have adapted to the loose wet soil by spreading their roots far and wide, lending to that spider-legs appearance that anyone who has ever visited a marsh or bog will be well familiar with.
Climate of a wetlandAs far as the climate is concerned, you would be surprised to find that the wetlands boast a wide range of climates. Depending on the geographical location, a wetland can be a frozen tundra with super saturated icy salt marsh or a sweltering bog, a tropical rain forest climate that reaches well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It all depends on the geographical location of a given wetland. Interestingly enough, the one thing that connects most wetlands and their climates are the attributes of the plant life that survive in them. From moss and peat to wide spreading droopy trees to all sorts of floating plant life, most wetlands share similarities in plant and wildlife simply because of the attributes that make survival possible in any given wetland.
With a bit of study you will come to appreciate the vast variety of plants and animals that call the wetlands home. Narrowing down the wetlands and their climates can only be approached properly with one word, and that is WET!
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