11 Mar 2013:
New Arctic Survey Shows
Major Advances of Vegetation to North
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Goddard Space Flight Center
Vegetation shift in northern latitudes
Declining snow and ice coverage in the northern latitudes and rising temperatures have triggered a significant increase in vegetation
across large swaths of the Arctic, with some circumpolar regions seeing the type of plant growth that just a few decades ago occurred hundreds of miles to the south, according to a new study. In a comprehensive analysis of ground and satellite-based data, a team of scientists found that across a region covering more than 9 million square kilometers — roughly equal to the size of the U.S. — vegetation is growing more vigorously and spreading north. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change
, said that since the early 1980s, the kind of vegetation that was once found at 57 degrees north — typified by tall shrubs and trees — is now spreading into former regions of tundra as far as 64 degrees north. The paper said that 17 climate model simulations suggested that bv the end of this century rising temperatures in the northern regions could lead to northward shifts of vegetation of more than 20 degrees latitude, compared with the period 1951 to 1980.
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