MOUNTAINS By: James Matthew Briggs Jr., Christopher Ryan Davis, & Brianne Serena Santa-Donato
GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION • Mountains are found all over the world. They cover 1/5 of the earth’s land surface. They differentiate in altitude, circumference, and biodiversity.
CLIMATE • Mountaintops are covered with snow and ice which reflect solar radiation back into space. • Climates change rapidly on mountains, becoming colder the higher the altitude gets. This happens because as altitude increases, air becomes thinner and is less able to absorb and retain heat. • The cooler the temperature the less evaporation there is meaning that there is more moisture in the air. • Mountains can affect the climate of nearby lands. In some areas, mountains block rain, so that one side of a mountain range may be rainy and the other side may be a desert. • Weather can change very quickly up mountains, in just a few hours temperatures can drop from extremely hot to extremely cold.
REGIONAL VARIATIONS Himalayans Rocky Mountains Swiss Alps • Above the tree line are the Northwestern and Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows which yield to tundra in the higher • Himalayan range. The alpine meadows are the summer habitat of the endangered Snow Leopard • March and April mountains full of snow and mellow temperature. • The Rocky Mountains have a highland climate. The average annual temperature in the valley bottoms of the Colorado Rockies near the latitude of Boulder is 43 °F • The summers in this area of the Rockies are warm and dry, because the western fronts impede the advancing of water-carrying storm systems. The average temperature in summer is 59 °F and the average precipitation is 5.9 inches • The Alps have cold climates due to there polar areas and high altitude • The Alps cover 61% of Switzerland's surface area • mountains lakes are artificial and are used as hydroelectric reservoirs
RESOURCES • Mountain ecosystems have played a critical role in maintaining a sustainable flow of mountain resources to the plains below • Timber, Water power and force, and minerals from mining, freshwater, biodiversity, forest products • Diamonds, Gold, silver, aluminum, copper, coal, ore, granite, and marble are all natural resources from mountains
CHANGES IN BIOME • Over time the slow movement of tectonic plates against one another or one plate sliding beneath the other plate causes the earth to rise up creating and enlarging mountains. • Thousands of years ago when glaciers took up much of the earth’s surface, they carved canyons and valleys which now shape many of the mountains we see today • Erosion through the sun, daily weather, and streams have changed the shape of mountains as well
ANIMAL AND PLANT ADAPTATIONS • Many animals such as mountain lions, mountains goats, mountain gorillas, pandas, cougars, yaks, snow leopards, pikas, and bighorn sheep all have adapted to mountain life by adapting to high altitude, camouflage, able to climb, and find food. • Pine trees are often found on mountains due to their wide range of tolerance to climate. • This group of plants including, manzanitas, scrub oak, chamise, wild lilac, and yucca plants, with their sword-like leaves and tall spikes of creamy white flowers can live in poor soil with very little water • In shaded canyons, ferns, herbs, and willow grow along little creeks under tall sycamore, live oak, white alder, elderberry, and big-leaf maple trees. There are also big-cone spruce tress that grow in shady ravines, with long, wide branches reaching for sunlight. • All of which have adapted to harsh wind, cold weather, and high altitude.
THREATS • Threats for mountains consists of human made problems • Mining, tree-cutting, factories for hydro-power, blasting, avalanches, mud slides, fires, blizards, winds • This causes a loss of biodiversity and destruction of natural habitat