e360 digest


31 Jul 2009: Arctic Tundra Undergoing
Major Changes As it Warms, Studies Show

Several recent studies show that the rapid warming of Arctic tundra is leading to a host of sweeping changes, including more extensive fires, the growth of larger vegetation, more absorption of solar energy, melting permafrost, and substantially larger releases of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases. Taken together, the studies demonstrate that rising temperatures set in motion a vicious circle of more warming and higher releases of greenhouse gases. In Alaska, scientists studying a 2007 fire that burned nearly 400 square miles of the Brooks Range found that the burned tundra lost 40 to 120 grams of carbon per square meter, while pristine tundra absorbed 30 to 70 grams. Burned tundra also absorbed 71 percent more solar radiation than normal and caused permafrost to melt to a depth of several inches. A study in the Canadian Arctic has shown that tundra vegetation is becoming weedier, larger, and darker, significantly increasing the amount of absorbed sunlight and further boosting temperatures. The study also showed the warming tundra giving off unexpectedly high levels of methane and nitrous oxide. And in Scandinavia researchers found that by warming Arctic peatlands by nearly 2 degrees F over eight years, the tundra released an extra 60 percent CO2 in spring and 52 percent in summer, according to a study in the journal, Nature.

Email      Recommend     Tweet     Stumble Upon     Digg     Share    


Yale
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
.

SEARCH e360



Donate to Yale Environment 360
Yale Environment 360 Newsletter

CONNECT

Twitter: YaleE360
e360 on Facebook
Donate to e360
View mobile site
Bookmark
Share e360
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscribe to our feed:
rss


ABOUT

About e360
Contact
Submission Guidelines
Reprints

e360 video contest
Yale Environment 360 is sponsoring a contest to honor the best environmental videos.
Find more contest information.


DEPARTMENTS

Opinion
Reports
Analysis
Interviews
Forums
e360 Digest
Podcasts
Video Reports

TOPICS

Biodiversity
Business & Innovation
Climate
Energy
Forests
Oceans
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Sustainability
Urbanization
Water

REGIONS

Antarctica and the Arctic
Africa
Asia
Australia
Central & South America
Europe
Middle East
North America

E360 en Español

Universia partnership
Yale Environment 360 articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia, the online educational network.
Visit the site.

e360 MOBILE

Mobile
The latest
from Yale
Environment 360
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile.

e360 VIDEO

Warriors of Qiugang
The Warriors of Qiugang, a Yale Environment 360 video that chronicles the story of a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). Watch the video.


header image
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland. © Google & TerraMetrics.

e360 VIDEO

Colorado River Video
In a Yale Environment 360 video, photographer Pete McBride documents how increasing water demands have transformed the Colorado River, the lifeblood of the arid Southwest. Watch the video.

 

OF INTEREST



Yale