Space

The rapid greening of the Arctic Tundra stirs researchers to understand this ecology

The heating up of the Arctic in summer is realigning the region’s landscape to a green vegetation coverage. Researchers speculate that the warm air and soil temperature are activating the growth of vegetation in this region.

Logan Berner of the Northern Arizona University reports that the increasing warmth in the Arctic region is pioneering the growth of vegetation, considering that this is the first time the place is getting warmer after decades of being the coldest part on Earth. He added that this ecological change is a clear indicator of the need to tackle the global warming challenge arising from climate change.  

The research is the first to be conducted using satellite data from a joint between NASA and the US Geological Survey. The researchers have been using satellites to identify vegetation’s green coverage in the Arctic region and estimate the scope of coverage in the coming months if the conditions remain the same.

The growth of tundra vegetation in this region may be advantageous and also disadvantageous. It may be beneficial because people and wildlife will obtain good food from the growing foliage. On the other hand, it may be disadvantageous where the greenhouse gases navigate down the region, making it tough to inhabit.

The study forms part of the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (AboVE) by NASA, which seeks to explain the ecosystem’s adjustment to the growing climate change and the potential upcoming changes. Logan Berner and his fellow researchers forecasted that the ever-increasing vegetation would proceed to cover over 50000 regions of the tundra.

In the past, vegetation has been encroaching the tundra region, with 2016 recording an increase of 38%. Some of the areas that have fallen victim to this growth include western Eurasia, Alaska, and Canada, where the areas with vegetation experienced a browning. In contrast, those without vegetation acquired new foliage.

Berner reported that more growth of vegetation is happening in summer, where temperatures should be the highest. This vegetative growth began in the 15 years, starting in 1985. The researchers explained that this vegetation is growing even more because the soil has moisture and high temperature favoring more foliage development. The researchers also took samples of the vegetation to conduct more experiments about their composition.

To conclude, the researchers thanked the Landsat satellite developers, which has been instrumental in the reception of data about the vegetation. The researchers added that they require finer details of the growing vegetation from a broad photographic view.

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