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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The greening of the Arctic is happening now...


You probably think of the Arctic as a cold, frozen tundra—home to lichen, polar bears and scattered herds of reindeer. In many places, this view would be accurate, but in a few relatively southern areas in Canada, Alaska and Russia, warming temperatures over the past few decades have allowed new types of plants, such as shrubs, to take root.
And by 2050—if current warming trends continue—we’ll see a dramatically different ecosystem across the Arctic, starting with something that’s largely unknown in the area currently: trees. According to research published today in Nature Climate Change, tree cover in the Arctic could increase by more than 50 percent over the next few decades.
The research team, which included scientists from a number of universities and was led by Richard Pearson of the American Museum of Natural History, made the calculation based off of current projections of how the Arctic’s climate will change by 2050. So far, temperatures in the region have risen about twice as fast as those for the planet as a whole.
They created a model that predicts which class of plants (various grasses, mosses, shrubs or trees) will grow given a particular temperature and precipitation range expected for the future; for each spot on a map of the Arctic, they fed in the 2050 projections. Doing this kind of vegetative modeling for the Arctic, they say, is relatively straightforward compared to doing it for somewhere like the tropics, because there are hard limits on the temperature and growing season length that given plant types can tolerate.


Read more: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/03/the-greening-of-the-arctic-is-underway/#ixzz2PScYpbwO 
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3 Comments:

At April 5, 2013 at 5:52 AM , Blogger Snowbird said...

How amazing! It's incredible what we can discover with new technology.xxxxx

 
At April 5, 2013 at 5:53 AM , Blogger Snowbird said...

That's the first time I've ever heard this. How very interesting. Now the question is is it a good or bad thing.xxxxx

 
At April 5, 2013 at 2:08 PM , Blogger Kiwi Riverman's Blogesphere said...

We will have to wait and see.

There is one thing I would remind people of, the earth has been warming up since the last ice age and there has to be changes. The arctic is thawing; but how much of this can be blamed on humankind alone?

It's all very interesting.

 

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