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Peary Land: the Mountainous Polar Desert of Northern Greenland

82.6N 31.9W

November 19th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Greenland - November 10th, 2009

Greenland - November 10th, 2009

Peary Land is a peninsula in northern Greenland, extending into the Arctic Ocean. It is only a bit more than 700 km south of the North Pole. It is bounded by Lincoln Sea (west of Cape Morris Jesup) and Wandel Sea of the Arctic Ocean in the north.

Inland, it reaches from Victoria Fjord in the west to Independence Fjord in the south and southeast, and to the Arctic Ocean in the north, with Cape Morris Jesup, the northernmost point of Greenland’s mainland, and Cape Bridgman in the northeast.

Peary Land is not part of any municipality, but is part of the Northeast Greenland National Park. The size of the region is about 375 km east-west and 200 km north-south, with an estimated area of 57 000 km²

The area is mountainous with elevations to 1 950 m in the heavily glaciated Roosevelt Range and to comparable heights in the little-explored H.H. Benedict Range. The area is free of Greenland’s inland ice cap.

Being mostly north of the 82°N parallel, it contains the most northerly ice-free region of the world, mostly in Southern Peary Land. Precipitation levels are so low (only about 25 to 200 mm per year, all as snow) that it is called a polar desert.