Alarmists don’t want… a shrubbery!
The Edmonton Journal reports:
…B ut the latest research by Myers-Smith, Hik and 30 other researchers from 10 countries in the world suggests that sizable chunks of this alpine/ tundra world are being taken over by shrub cover that is increasingly crowding out those plants that many Arctic animals depend on.
“Climate warming may well be a reason why this is happening,” said Myers-Smith, who is the lead author of a paper published recently in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters. “But snow cover, nutrient availability, and interactions with other plant species may also be important.”
An increase in shrub growth may not sound serious when compared to the advance of trees such as spruce, which some scientists believe are moving higher up in the alpine country and closer to the Arctic coast as the climate warms…
“Research has shown that soil in shrub-free zones can be almost a cold as the air above it. But that same soil that lies beneath shrubs in winter can be up to 30 degrees warmer than the air temperature. This insulating and cooling can alter soil temperatures, nutrient cycling and permafrost thaw.”
“Shrubs also seem to do best in a landscape that is increasingly becoming more disturbed,” she says. “The darkening of the surface associated with shrubs growing above snow could also accelerate snowmelt and cause regional warming.” [Emphasis added]