Study: Models show ‘massive’ Arctic greening in next few decades; Invasion of the trees to cause even more, faster warming

But will we get to surface temps of 180-degrees F, like the Nuremberg-TrialS-for-Skeptics-Guy says?

The media release is below.”

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New models predict drastically greener Arctic in coming decades

Boom in trees, shrubs expected to lead to net increase in climate warming

New research predicts that rising temperatures will lead to a massive “greening,” or increase in plant cover, in the Arctic. In a paper published on March 31 in Nature Climate Change, scientists reveal new models projecting that wooded areas in the Arctic could increase by as much as 50 percent over the next few decades. The researchers also show that this dramatic greening will accelerate climate warming at a rate greater than previously expected.

“Such widespread redistribution of Arctic vegetation would have impacts that reverberate through the global ecosystem,” said Richard Pearson, lead author on the paper and a research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation.

Plant growth in Arctic ecosystems has increased over the past few decades, a trend that coincides with increases in temperatures, which are rising at about twice the global rate. The research team—which includes scientists from the Museum, AT&T Labs-Research, Woods Hole Research Center, Colgate University, Cornell University, and the University of York—used climate scenarios for the 2050s to explore how this trend is likely to continue in the future. The scientists developed models that statistically predict the types of plants that could grow under certain temperatures and precipitation. Although it comes with some uncertainty, this type of modeling is a robust way to study the Arctic because the harsh climate limits the range of plants that can grow, making this system simpler to model compared to other regions such as the tropics.

The models reveal the potential for massive redistribution of vegetation across the Arctic under future climate, with about half of all vegetation switching to a different class and a massive increase in tree cover. What might this look like? In Siberia, for instance, trees could grow hundreds of miles north of the present tree line.

“These impacts would extend far beyond the Arctic region,” Pearson said. “For example, some species of birds seasonally migrate from lower latitudes and rely on finding particular polar habitats, such as open space for ground-nesting.”

In addition, the researchers investigated the multiple climate change feedbacks that greening would produce. They found that a phenomenon called the albedo effect, based on the reflectivity of the Earth’s surface, would have the greatest impact on the Arctic’s climate. When the sun hits snow, most of the radiation is reflected back to space. But when it hits an area that’s “dark,” or covered in trees or shrubs, more sunlight is absorbed in the area and temperature increases. This has a positive feedback to climate warming: the more vegetation there is, the more warming will occur.

“By incorporating observed relationships between plants and albedo, we show that vegetation distribution shifts will result in an overall positive feedback to climate that is likely to cause greater warming than has previously been predicted,” said co-author Scott Goetz, of the Woods Hole Research Center.

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9 thoughts on “Study: Models show ‘massive’ Arctic greening in next few decades; Invasion of the trees to cause even more, faster warming”

  1. I wonder what these guys have been smoking. They seem to completely ignore the current hiatus on warming. Without a massive reorientation of the earth-sun relationship, winter in the Arctic is going to continue being dark and cold.

  2. Siberian, Asian, and Eurasian snow-cover albedo eclipsed that of 2007-2008 this year, initiated with record open Arctic and attendant Lake/Ocean Effect snows on land surrounding the Arctic.

    Snowpack, covering Asia all the way to the Himalayas and Istanbul, reflected GigaWatts of sunlight at all wavelengths, most of which CO2 does NOT intercept and re-radiate back down to the surface.

    The resulting colder temperatures assured that moisture entering Eurasia from the North Sea, Baltic, Atlantic, and Mediterranean would fall mostly as snow, adding to albedo as winter ended. For a video explanation see:

    http://youtu.be/OdP65ZqlF2M from 46:10 to 1:15 and check:

    http://www.colderside.com/Colderside/Media.html for more examples!

    Even worse was the repeated 50 below zero temperatures in Moscow this winter, and the coldest temperature EVER recorded in Siberia this winter of 98 below zero.

    Yes, plants are really going to migrate northward!???!! And they call these models “robust.” Good grief!!!

  3. I think the answer is that only old growth forest is good. Nothing is allowed to change *ever*.

    Oh—logging is still always bad, though.

  4. If they’re upset about trees growing, then I think the “green” movement needs to rename themselves the “anti-green” movement.

    Or, maybe… uh, what is it that you call someone who’s reflexively opposed to any change? Oh yeah: Reactionary.

  5. I agree. As an amateur orchardist in upstate NY, it is my experience that the survival of tree species is determined more by winter low temperatures and wind conditions than by summer warmth and rainfall.

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