There are different types of ecosystems on Earth where numerous species of animals live. These ecosystems are a source of various resources for humans as well. The rarest ecosystem in the world is the tallgrass prairie, which is the most fertile and well-watered region. But this is also endangered and less than 4% of the area is its only remnants. Yes, the topic today is wetlands, and the questions related to them like what is the climate in wetlands, and what is the temperature in wetlands? Let’s begin.
1. What are Wetlands?
A distinct ecosystem that is flooded with water, such that the water is covering the soil completely is known as the wetland. The water is present near the surface of the soil and can remain like this for almost a year or more. A wetland is also known as a place or community composed of hydric soil and hydrophytes. (See How has the Removal of Wetlands Impacted Rivers and Streams?)
2. What are the Characteristics of Wetlands?
Before we understand what is the climate in wetlands, let us read about its characteristics. A place where water accumulates after rainfall or flood cannot be considered a wetland. A place to be considered a wetland must have one or all of the following 3 attributes:
- The land supports hydrophytes either all year round or periodically
- They have water-loving plants growing on them.
- The substrate or soil is covered with shallow water during the growing season or saturated with water all year round.
3. What is the Climate in Wetlands?Photo by David Lang on Unsplash
Different types of wetlands found across the world have different climates. Their location is the main contributor to the type of climate the wetland will have. Their temperature can be:
- Temperate Climate: The region between the poles and the equator is known as the temperate zone. The average temperature in these areas might be around 11° C. The summers are warm and the winters are cold, but the temperatures are not extreme.
- Tropical Climate: The regions of the Earth surrounding the Equator are known as the tropics and between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. These areas are also known as tropical zones or torrid zones. Wetlands in these areas are subjected to higher temperatures for a major part of the year. The summers are extreme and so are winters.
- Polar Climate: The areas surrounding the geographical poles of the Earth but lying within the polar circles are known as the polar zones or frigid zones. Wetlands in these regions experience freezing temperatures with thick layers of ice sheets. The climate here is freezing because of low solar radiation and its extreme distance from the equator.
4. What is the Temperature in Wetlands?Photo by p j on Unsplash
There is more to know regarding what is the climate in wetlands. Take a look at the temperatures that wetlands experience in different zones.
- Temperate Wetlands: They have moderate mean temperatures. The average monthly temperature in summer can reach a little above 10° Celsius (50° Fahrenheit). During the winter months, the average lowest temperature can be −3° Celsius (26.6° Fahrenheit).
- Tropical Wetlands: They receive more sunlight in comparison to temperate zones, therefore, the region is mostly warm throughout the year. The average temperature during summer ranges between 25° Celsius to 28° Celsius (77° Fahrenheit to 82.4° Fahrenheit). In winter the monthly average temperature drops to 18° Celsius (64.4° Fahrenheit) but can be higher.
- Polar Wetlands: They are the opposite of tropical wetlands. Here the temperatures are freezing throughout the year. The temperature in summers can vary in different places and the average lies between −10° Celsius and 30° Celsius (14° to 86° Fahrenheit), and sometimes a bit more than this. The winter temperatures can be between 0° Celsius to −50° Celsius (32° to −58° Fahrenheit) and sometimes even lower in some areas.
The wetlands are scattered in almost every region of the Earth. Therefore, the temperature prevailing in each region is different. Also, check out What are the Effects of Latitude on Climate?
5. What is the Amount of Rainfall in the Wetlands?
The rainfall in the wetlands also varies on the basis of their location and the zone they belong to. After knowing about what is the climate in wetlands, here is the amount of rainfall received by wetlands in the 3 zones.
- Temperate Wetlands receive rainfall between 300 millimeters and 2000 millimeters but on average annual rainfall is up to 800 millimeters
- Tropical Wetlands receive 700 millimeters to 1000 millimeters of annual rainfall mostly during the summer and rainy months. The winter months are generally dry with an average rainfall of 60 millimeters and sometimes even less.
- Polar Wetlands receive very little rainfall because of the absence of moisture in the air. Therefore, the annual precipitation received by wetlands in the polar region is 250 millimeters or fewer
6. What are Different Types of Wetlands?
The type of water that fills the wetland and its geographical location decides what type of wetland it is. Broadly classified, there are four types of wetlands, namely bogs, fens, marshes, and swamps.
A. BogsPhoto by Sara Cottle on Unsplash
This unique wetland is found in the northern regions and they are mostly filled by precipitation which is also the reason behind the acidic nature of these wetlands. When moss covers a pond, lake, or an area of land trapping the moisture beneath it, bogs are formed. They have low nutrients so evergreen trees and shrubs are the most grown plants in bogs. Animals like black bears and woodpeckers are commonly found in bogs. (See How Elevation affects Climate?)
B. FensPhoto by Philip Arambula on Unsplash
The type of wetlands also determines what is the climate in wetlands. This wetland is also found in northern regions and is filled with groundwater drainage. They are less acidic and have higher nutrients in comparison to bogs and serve as a watershed which reduces the chances of floods in the area. A great variety of wildlife is found in fens. Plants like tamarack trees and wildlife flowers are commonly found while animals like deer, turkey, along with different species of insects also reside there. (See How would You describe a Grass?)
C. MarshesPhoto by James Park on Unsplash
These wetlands can be sourced from saltwater or fresh water and are filled by surface water runoff or by groundwater. There are two kinds of marshes, i.e.tidal and non-tidal. A non-tidal marsh is a freshwater wetland that is the most prevalent in North America. A tidal marsh is found near coastlines and when tides come these marshes are filled with saltwater. Animals like clams and crabs are found in tidal marshes. (See Types of Rivers and Facts)
D. SwampsPhoto by Yohan Marion on Unsplash
This wetland includes large quantities of woody plants, which is why it is classified into forest swamps and shrub swamps. They are filled with streams and river water. The forest swamp has many tall trees like pin oak, red maple, and flowing Cypress. The shrub swamp has shrubby vegetation like buttonbush and dogwood shrubs. Animals like wood ducks, cottonmouth snakes, and river otters are found in these wetlands.
The answers to what is the climate in wetlands are discussed above, which is between freezing to temporally warm. Also, what is the temperature in wetlands is totally dependent on the zone in which they are. Moreover, the rainfall in the wetlands can range from 250 millimeters to 2000 millimeters. (Also read How does a Glacier remain Stationary?)