Study: Warming is Shifting Vegetation to the North
March 11, 2013 2:52 PM
More vegetation could speed up warming in the short term
Humans may be concerned about global warming, but nature for its part appears to be adapting. A new study by a team of international experts examining the
latest satellite and weather station data
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) suggests that the rate of change in vegetation in middle Canada (the so-called boreal region) is leveling off, while the vegetation in the northernmost tundra is dramatically increasing during summer months.
I. Vegetation Growth is Rapidly Increasing in Permafrost Region
The vegetation in turn is causing a so-called "amplified warming" effect -- by the vegetation limiting the snow cover, which in turn provides a darker, less reflective surface that absorbs sunlight and traps heat.
The study, funded by NASA, finds that vegetation is effectively shifting northward approximately 7 degrees.
Dr. Compton Tucker
a Senior Scientist at NASA's
Goddard Space Flight Center
in Greenbelt, Maryland, comments, "As a result of the enhanced warming over a longer ground-thaw season, the total amount of heat available for plant growth in these northern latitudes is increasing. This created during the past 30 years large patches of vigorously productive vegetation, totaling more than a third of the northern landscape -- over 9 million km2, which is roughly about the area of the USA -- resembling the vegetation that occurs further to the south."
Plant growth in the Canadian permafrost region is dramatically increasing.
[Image Source: NASA]
a climatology Professor at the
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
University of Sheffield, UK
, comments, "The reduction of vegetation seasonality, resulting in increased greenness in the Arctic, is visible on the ground as an increasing abundance of tall shrubs and tree incursions in several locations all over the circumpolar Arctic."
A clue to where vegetation growth will eventually reach may be found in the boreal, region where vegetation previously greatly increased, but is now leveling off. The slowing of boreal growth is more pronounced in North America than in the Russian north. Ultimately, the vegetation in the melting permafrost region is self-limiting, as it will saturate the more northern latitude.
II. Study Doesn't Consider Carbon Trapping Properties of Vegetation
Researchers warn that this trend may lead to increasing forest fires and droughts in boreal regions, where vegetation growth is slowing. Using "17 state-of-the-art
climate model simulations
", the researchers predict that compared to the 1951-1980 reference period, the model suggests that by 2100 the net latitude shift could reach 20 degrees.
However, the researchers acknowledge that flat-lining temperatures over the last decade caused the models to overshoot vegetation estimates substantially.
a Professor of Earth and Environment at
, remarks, "Since we don't know the actual trajectory of atmospheric concentration of various agents capable of forcing a change in climate, long-term projections should be interpreted cautiously."
Extra vegetation may melt permafrost may decrease reflectivity and increase greenhouse gases, but it may also soak up carbon.
[Image Source: Vladimir Romanovsky]
The researchers suggest the change in vegetation growth regions could substantially impact the timber and agricultural industries. They also are concerned that melting in the north could release pockets of methane and other greenhouse gases that are trapped in the permafrost.
One major oversight of the study is that it does not fully examine the ability of the
extra vegetation to absorb atmospheric carbon
. It seems like that while a reduction in reflectivity certainly will amplify heating, that fresh plant growth will soak up carbon. Ultimately, this means that if the north greens to the extent that the study predicts, the extra carbon trapping could substantially reduce ongoing warming.
The study was
in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal
Nature: Climate Change
Boston University [PDF]
"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
Top Climate Official: Don't be Confused by Flat-lining Temperatures, Warming is Worse
January 16, 2013, 5:22 PM
Researchers Fight Global Warming with Genetically Altered Trees
October 1, 2010, 3:08 PM
Microsoft Scientist: Develop Better Climate Models So We Can Understand and Fight Global Warming
June 13, 2008, 4:16 PM
PIQ ROBOTTM reveals its new artificial intelligence software
November 29, 2016, 12:59 AM
One more time - Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone Around the World
November 24, 2016, 4:00 AM
Google’s Smart Contact Lens Project gets halted for 2016
November 20, 2016, 7:00 AM
Cell Research Study shows African Americans have greater immune response to infection
November 10, 2016, 1:00 AM
UTHealth Clinical Trial Shows Progress Using Stem Cells to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury
November 8, 2016, 1:00 AM
Uber Partners with Circulation to Pilot Program Connecting Transportation and Digital Health Care
November 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
Kobo Aura One Vs Kindle Paperwhite
January 10, 2017, 1:21 AM
New at CES 2017 - Changhong 8K Super Slim TV 65ZHQ3R
January 8, 2017, 1:07 AM
OPPO R9 – The Smartphone with Excellent Camera and Long Battery Life
January 12, 2017, 12:01 AM
Are you in the market for a private antenna?
January 11, 2017, 12:01 AM
Comparison: Xiaomi Mi Mix Vs. HTC U Ultra
January 14, 2017, 12:10 AM
Latest Blog Posts
News of the Day
Jan 16, 2017, 12:10 PM
News and Technology Advancement
Jan 16, 2017, 7:58 AM
Jan 15, 2017, 12:32 AM
Here is Some News
Jan 14, 2017, 12:39 AM
News: Improved and New products
Jan 13, 2017, 12:01 AM
News around the world
Jan 12, 2017, 12:01 AM
Rumors and Announcements
Jan 11, 2017, 12:01 AM
This year CES and ridiculous gadgets
Jan 10, 2017, 12:01 AM
Nokia Android phone spurns the west.
Jan 9, 2017, 12:08 AM
New at CES 2017 - Changhong 8K Super Slim TV 65ZHQ3R
Jan 8, 2017, 1:07 AM
Debuted at CES 2017 - Vuzix Blade 3000 Smart Sunglasses
Jan 8, 2017, 12:39 AM
Some news of Day
Jan 7, 2017, 12:01 AM
News 2017 CES
Jan 6, 2017, 12:01 AM
Here is the Latest News in Tech
Jan 5, 2017, 1:47 AM
AI Beats World’s Best at Chinese board game “Go”
Jan 4, 2017, 11:21 AM
Las Vegas 2017 CES
Jan 3, 2017, 12:01 AM
News of Jan 2nd 2017
Jan 2, 2017, 4:40 AM
Wishing you all, the New Year brings the light of hope, joy, success, and Happy, Happy New Year.
Jan 1, 2017, 1:48 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information