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Wetlands are geographic areas where water covers the ground year round or during long periods during the growing season. The different types of wetland climates include marine or coastal wetlands, inland wetlands, and man-made wetlands. Depending on the type of wetland, the wetland climates can range from warm, humid tropical environs to frigid tundras.
Climates for wetlands are specific to the type of wetland and where in the world the wetland is located. Marine or coastal wetlands are characterized by shallow marshes or lagoons where the ocean's tides control the area's plant and animal life. The water may be either entirely saltwater or brackish, which is a mixture of freshwater and saltwater.
In certain areas of the world, such as off Australia's coast, coral reefs form in the shallow waters along rocky coastlines. The rocks create a barrier to the strong ocean tides which allows water to ebb and flow with the tides while still providing the sand and silt to support sub-tidal aquatic beds. Other areas, such as the Gulf Coast of the United States, have persistent shallow bayous and marshes where brackish water is home to an abundance of marine life and sea grass beds. The wetland animals include egrets, shrimp, crayfish, and pelicans.
Wetland weather in marine or coastal wetlands typically remains above freezing and rarely dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). Due to the fragile nature of wetland plants and animals, large swings in temperatures may have a significant effect on wetland climates. The resulting impact causes marine organisms to die and the loss of food sources leads wetland animals to leave in search of other food.
Inland wetlands are either alpine, tundra, or forest swamps and are often covered by water for only part of the year. The alpine wetlands are formed when alpine meadows become waterlogged in the spring after surrounding mountains experience snow melt. The tundra wetlands may be temporary wetlands due to snow melt or permanent wetlands caused by tundra pools that form when underwater springs break the earth's surface. The wetland climates of both alpine and tundra wetlands vary widely in temperature. Most of the year, the surface is frozen or covered in permafrost and only thaws during the spring snow melt.
Man-made wetlands could be located anywhere and are constructed for a variety of uses. The most common reasons for making a wetland are as drainage canals, fish hatcheries, and water reservoirs. The wetlands may also be caused when farmers flood large tracts of land to grow rice. Wetland climates in man-made wetlands range from arctic to tropical, depending on the location.
It is critical to define what, exactly, a wetland is. In the United States, there are strict regulations governing for what a piece of property with a wetlands area on it can be used. If the definition of "wetlands" is too strict and the regulations governing what can be built there are overly prohibitive, a lot of valuable property can become valueless to the people that own it.
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