Climate change is causing the Arctic to become GREENER as warmer temperatures cause trees and plants to flourish in the frozen world
Most of the Artic is water, with ice floating on top of it. So this article is referring to peripheral regions of the Arctic, which vary greatly in climate.
The largest land mass is Greenland, which is known to have substantial subsurface vulcanism. And even the oceanic parts of Arctica have extensive vulcanism -- along the Gakkel ridge, for instance. So Arctica commonly warms out of synchrony with the rest of the globe. It warms and cools in response to fluctuations in volcanic activity. Its temperature is determined only partly by global influences. A lot of its warming is due to the greater volcanic activity at the poles.
The earth not a perfect globe. It is flattened at the poles. So that is where volcanic activity most likely to break through. And it does, at both poles
So the findings below are attributed to global warming in defiance of the fact that Arctic warming is NOT synchronous with global warming.
And the greening observed is easily explained not by temperatures but by CO2 levels -- which have undoubtedly risen. Higher CO encourages plant growth and enables plants to survive with less water. Terrestrial Arctica is essentially a desert so that latter fact is crucial. In the results below we may simply be seeing the normal fertilizing effect of increased CO2.
Ecologists are on 'red alert' as warmer temperatures caused by climate change causes the Arctic to become greener. The Arctic is normally a vast and barren expanse of frozen land but higher temperatures are now allowing foliage to thrive.
Trees and plants are being found in areas that were once perennially frozen, according to a new study.
The worrying phenomenon - branded 'Arctic greening' - is being studied by researchers using drones and satellites.
A group of 40 scientists from 36 institutions, led by two National Geographic Explorers, are behind the huge project.
As Arctic summer temperatures warm, snow is melting earlier and plants are coming into leaf sooner in spring.
Tundra vegetation is spreading into new areas and in the areas where plants have always survived, they are now flourishing.
Study lead author Dr Isla Myers-Smith, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, said: 'New technologies including sensors on drones, planes and satellites, are enabling scientists to track emerging patterns of greening found within satellite pixels that cover the size of football fields.'
Changes in vegetation alter how carbon is captured and released into the atmosphere.
Small changes to this balance could significantly impact efforts to keep warming below 1.5°C – a key target of the Paris Agreement.
But researchers in Europe and North America also found Arctic greening, which can be seen from space, is caused by various factors.
Ground warming is important, researchers found, but so are changes to the timing of snow melt and the wetness of landscapes.
The new study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The team behind it say it is vital for understanding global climate change because tundra plants act as a barrier between the warming atmosphere and huge stocks of carbon stored in frozen ground.
Co-lead author Dr Jeffrey Kerby, who was a Neukom Fellow at Dartmouth College while conducting the research, said: 'Besides collecting new imagery, advances in how we process and analyse these data - even imagery that is decades old - are revolutionising how we understand the past, present, and future of the Arctic.'
Alex Moen, Vice President of Explorer Programmes at the National Geographic Society, added: 'We look forward to the impact that this work will have on our collective understanding of the Arctic for generations to come.'