Greening Arctic could accelerate global warming

By on April 15, 2013

A new study led by researchers from the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation suggests that rising temperatures will lead to a substantial increase in Arctic plant life by mid-century, according to the National Science Foundation.

Using sophisticated computer modeling, researchers predict that wooded areas in the Arctic could increase by 50 percent over the course of the next few decades.

The increases in Arctic plant life will have a global impact on climate: Increased ground vegetation will absorb more of the sun’s energy than the Arctic’s icy groundcover, which will further accelerate global warming.

The shifting habitat could also impact various animal species that have adapted to, and rely on, the region’s current polar conditions.

Image: Predicted distribution of vegetation under a climate warming scenario for the 2050s  (Credit: American Museum of Natural History)

 

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