Most people think of lush new plant growth as a sign the land is healthy and thriving.
But, greener and greener colours in the Arctic are cause for alarm. there’s one place on Earth where greener lands are cause for alarm: The Arctic, which has been getting greener and greener over the past few decades, with catastrophic implications for the future of climate change.
A study released last month found almost 40 per cent of the Arctic region showed signs of increased summer greening over the course of two decades, compared to less than 5 per cent that showed the opposite: Less plant growth, or “browning.”
The researchers used satellite data from 50,000 random sampling sites all across the Canadian and Eurasian Arctic, ranging from 1986 to 2016, and say it matched up with on-the-ground experiences
Climate warming will alter marine community compositions as species are expected to shift poleward, significantly impacting the Arctic marine ecosystem.
The biodiversity of marine communities in the Pacific Arctic under future climate change scenarios highlights profound changes relative to their present patterns. Alterations in marine species distributions in response to warming and sea ice reduction are likely to increase the susceptibility and vulnerability of Arctic ecosystems. The findings, published by Hokkaido University researchers in the journal Science of the Total Environment, also suggest that there will be potential impacts on the ecosystem function and services.
Fisheries oceanographer Irene Alabia of Hokkaido University’s Arctic Research Center along with colleagues in Japan and the US investigated how future climate changes will impact the marine biodiversity in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. These seas extend from Alaska to Russia in the northern Pacific and southern Arctic oceans.
Each winter, Baffin Bay freezes over as polar darkness descends over the top of the world.
Come spring, phytoplankton will bloom in these cold waters between Greenland and Canada, bolstering a bustling ecosystem of beluga whales and narwhals (SN: 4/8/20). But scientists have long assumed that the photosynthetic algae remain largely dormant in winter, blocked off from light by thick sea ice and snow.
New research challenges that assumption, however, finding that phytoplankton under the bay’s ice start growing as early as February, when the sun barely blips above the Arctic’s horizon.
Achim Randelhoff, an oceanographer at Université Laval in Quebec City, and colleagues deployed autonomous submersible floats in Baffin Bay that can measure photosynthetic activity and algae concentrations underwater.
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The largest-ever study of tree rings from Norilsk in the Russian Arctic has shown that the direct and indirect effects of industrial pollution in the region and beyond are far worse than previously thought.
An international team of researchers, led by the University of Cambridge, has combined ring width and wood chemistry measurements from living and dead trees with soil characteristics and computer modelling to show that the damage done by decades of nickel and copper mining has not only devastated local environments, but also affected the global carbon cycle.
The extent of damage done to the boreal forest, the largest land biome on Earth, can be seen in the annual growth rings of trees near Norilsk where die off has spread up to 100 kilometres. The results are reported in the journal Ecology Letters.
Norilsk, in northern Siberia, is the world’s northernmost city with more than 100,000 people,