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Little-known Facts About the Weather of a Freshwater Biome

Freshwater Biome Weather
It may not be as diverse as the rainforest biome, but the freshwater biome does boast of being one of the highly diverse biomes on the planet. In this ScienceStruck article, we will shed light on the weather of the freshwater biome, one of the least-known aspects of this aquatic ecosystem.
Abhijit Naik
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2018
Did You Know?
The scientific study of various freshwater sources on the planet, such as rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, springs, etc., is known as limnology.

The freshwater biome is one of the most important biomes on the planet, and yet, most people are unaware of the basic facts about it. That we derive our drinking water from this biome, is a good enough reason for us to be familiar with it. Sadly though, that's not the case. Basically, the freshwater biome is one half of the aquatic biome; the other half being the marine biome.
While the marine biome comprises saline water sources, like oceans and estuaries, freshwater biome consists of freshwater sources, like rivers, lakes, ponds, etc. Other than water, you can also see a significant difference in the weather conditions prevailing in these biomes. Regardless of which biome you take into consideration, the weather conditions are typically guided by a range of factors, including the location and climate of the region.
Freshwater Biome - Weather Conditions
While the term 'weather' is used to refer to the atmospheric condition prevailing in a certain area for a specific period―usually a day, 'climate' refers to the weather conditions that prevail over a longer duration―throughout the year for instance. Freshwater sources are spread all over the planet, with the largest concentration being seen in tropical and temperate regions of the world. In polar regions, freshwater is stored in the form of huge glaciers.
With the vast geographical expanse that it boasts of, the diversity that we get to see in this biome shouldn't come as a surprise. However, the vast geographical expanse makes it difficult to ascertain specific weather conditions prevailing in this biome. The weather prevailing in two different freshwater sources―one in the Indian subcontinent and the other in Greenland―is bound to differ by a significant extent. These differences are driven by climatic factors, like precipitation and temperature, and geological factors, such as landforms and source of water. These factors play a crucial role in determining the weather of a region.
In general, the atmospheric temperature near these freshwater sources can go up to 71.6 °F (22 °C) in summer and fall to 32.6 °F (0 °C) in winter. Things change as you go away from the equator, and by the time, you close-in on the Arctic circle, the difference is obvious with water sources here being covered with thick ice. In winter, some of these sources are completely frozen, while others have a thick layer of ice over them; thick enough for you to walk over them at times.
As for precipitation, it depends on the geographic location of the said freshwater source. On an average, the freshwater biome receives about 10 - 80 inches of rainfall, with water sources in some regions even receiving 100 inches rainfall in a year.
How Does Depth Affect the Weather?
The temperature of water in these sources decreases with depth. The surface of the lake, or any given water body, is always the warmest, as it can absorb the heat coming from the Sun. In a lake, the temperature can be as low as 39.2 °F (4 °C) at the bottom. In summer, the temperature will go on increasing as you come to the surface of the water body. In winter, the tables are turned. While the bottom of the lake will still record a temperature of 39.2 °F (4 °C), the surface temperature will be 32 °F (0 °C) or less, courtesy the ice cover caused by extremely low temperature in the region.
Lake Superior boasts of being the coldest lake in the world. At the depth of 660 ft and below, the temperature of this lake is 39 °F year round. The average depth of lake Superior is 483 ft and the maximum depth is 1,332 ft.

The weather plays a crucial role in providing a suitable habitat for several plants and animals that are found in these freshwater sources. These include plants like star-grass, tape grass, cattails, duckweed, lily pads, etc., and species of freshwater fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Indirectly, the biome also supports various other lifeforms, including several species of mammals and birds, and therefore, is considered one of the world's richest biomes.
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