A dramatic greening of the Arctic over the past 30 years

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:30 PM GMT on March 18, 2013

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A remarkable transformation in the vegetation of the Arctic has occurred over the past 30 years, according to a study of satellite data published on March 10, 2013, in Nature Climate Change. The authors found that Arctic vegetation growth and temperatures in 2011 resembled what occurred 250 - 430 miles farther to the south back in 1982. That's the approximate distance in latitude between San Francisco and San Diego, or Washington D.C. and Atlanta. More greening occurred in Eurasia than North America, and the Arctic's new greenness is visible on the ground as an increasing abundance of tall shrubs and trees. Large patches of vigorously productive vegetation now span a third of the northern landscape, an area about equal to the contiguous United States. "Higher northern latitudes are getting warmer, Arctic sea ice and the duration of snow cover are diminishing, the growing season is getting longer and plants are growing more," said co-author Dr. Ranga Myneni of Boston University's Department of Earth and Environment, in a NASA press release. "In the north's Arctic and boreal areas, the characteristics of the seasons are changing, leading to great disruptions for plants and related ecosystems." The changes in the Arctic's vegetation are being driven by human-caused global warming, which is occurring in the Arctic at more than double the rate of the rest of the planet. This so-called "Arctic amplification" is due, in part, to the increased melting of ice and snow near the pole. When ice and snow melt, they uncover darker surfaces underneath, which absorb more sunlight and increase Arctic temperatures in a vicious cycle which melts even more ice and snow. Using 17 climate models, the researchers predicted that a continuation of warming in the Arctic in coming decades could lead to over a 1300 mile latitudinal shift in Arctic vegetation zones by the year 2100, compared to the period 1951 - 1980. That's a distance greater than the north-south extent of the contiguous United States. However, more frequent forest fires, increased pest outbreaks, and summertime droughts due to a warming climate might slow down Arctic plant growth.


Figure 1. Of the 10 million square miles (26 million square kilometers) of northern vegetated lands, 34 to 41 percent showed increases in plant growth (green and blue), 3 to 5 percent showed decreases in plant growth (orange and red), and 51 to 62 percent showed no changes (yellow) over the past 30 years. Satellite data in this visualization are from AVHRR and MODIS. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.


Figure 2. Trees take hold as permafrost thaws near the Altai Mountains in Russia. Credit: Terry Callaghan, EU-Interact/Sergey Kirpotin, Tomsk State University.

Commentary
One often hears complaints that global warming may be greatly overestimated, due to many temperature sensors being located in increasingly urbanized areas where local "urban heat island" effects are not being properly considered. If this were true (and it isn't), then we would not expect to see "nature's thermometers"--plants and animals--change their behavior and ranges much. But plants and animals are responding in major ways to the warming climate, and the greening of the Arctic is merely one more example of "nature's thermometers" telling us that the planet is warming significantly. Some other examples:

Fall is falling back: During 1982 to 1999, the end of the growing season was delayed by 4.3 days in the Northern Hemisphere. During 2000 to 2008, the end of the growing season was further delayed by an additional 2.3 days. In the U.S., fall now occurs ten days later than it did 30 years ago.

Spring is springing forward: Spring events, like bird and butterfly migrations, flower blooming times, and frog mating, have been advancing by about three days per decade over the past 30 years.

Animals are changing migration patterns: New species have colonized previously ‘cool’ regions, including sea anemones in Monterey Bay, and lichens and butterflies in Europe. Over the past 50 years, maximum range shifts vary from 200 km (butterflies) to 1,000 km (marine copepods).

Related blog post: New USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for gardeners shows a warming climate

Dr. Myneni's petition to protect Earth from climate change
Professor Myneni of Boston University's Department of Earth & Environment, co-author of the greening Arctic study, has developed a simple one-sentence petition that he hopes one billion people will sign by Earth Day, 2014:

Dear Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon,

We, the People of the Earth, request You to act judiciously and expeditiously to protect the Earth from anthropogenic climate change.

Respectfully,
People of the Earth


The petition, which I have signed, is at: https://yourclimatechange.org/, and was recently featured by Discovery News.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting PensacolaDoug:

Well of course!

Last year we had "Global Warming", and this year, "Climate Change"!
You've confused climate change with climate variability.

World Meteorological Organization:
What is Climate?

Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the "average weather," or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). These quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation, and wind. Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system.

What is the difference between Climate Variability and Climate Change?

A key difference between climate variability and change is in persistence of "anomalous" conditions. In other words, events that used to be rare occur more frequently (summertime maximum air temperatures increasingly break records each year), or vice-versa (duration and thickness of seasonal lake ice decreasing with time). In statistical terminology, the curve of the frequency distribution representing the probability of specific meteorological events occurring is changed. The curve may be modified either in amplitude, or shifted about a new mean, or both.
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Quoting pcola57:


Where did you get that info from Washi..?
Capital weather gang at the washingtonpost website.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Good morning.Did anybody here what TMC (the market channel) is trying to do to the whole feild of weather.They want to invest in weather dot.Sounds kinda selfish...


Where did you get that info from Washi..?
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
Good morning.Did anybody here what TMC (the market channel) is trying to do to the whole feild of weather.They want to invest in weather dot.Sounds kinda selfish...
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Quoting StormTrackerScott:
WOW you can't see it's raining so hard here. Lightning is very bad as well.




It's raining so light here, I can see for 10 miles!

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Quoting StormTrackerScott:
WOW you can't see it's raining so hard here. Lightning is very bad as well.







Melbourne,Fl
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
WOW you can't see it's raining so hard here. Lightning is very bad as well.


Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 8 Comments: 4438
Quoting Chucktown:
Wow, Bastardi a little vocal this morning - backs it up with some good arguments. After seeing this, the "spin doctors" will be out shortly, and I'm not talking about the rock group from several years ago. They know who they are !!

Link


Joe's chart is what Joe makes of it..
Not accurate nor impartial..
I think he's reaching on that one..
Methinks Joe needs some ratings..??
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
Quoting pcola57:


Lol Rita..
Not funny really though.. :(
I hope you in Texas get a good old fashion soaking this year and get back to the Texas we know and love.. :)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
Quoting biff4ugo:
Happy First Day o Spring!

That would be orbital spring instead of "thermal spring"? Is that like true north vs. magnetic north? What happened 9 days early to tell people it was spring? Was it a thaw or punxsutawney Phil?


Happy First Day of Spring to you too..
Blame it on Phil..Lol.
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
Happy First Day o Spring!

That would be orbital spring instead of "thermal spring"? Is that like true north vs. magnetic north? What happened 9 days early to tell people it was spring? Was it a thaw or punxsutawney Phil?
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 115 Comments: 1599
Quoting Chucktown:
Wow, Bastardi a little vocal this morning - backs it up with some good arguments. After seeing this, the "spin doctors" will be out shortly, and I'm not talking about the rock group from several years ago. They know who they are !!

Link


They are only good points if you don't understand the science. Sea ice area is not volume, which is the truer measurement. But, you can keep telling us all the science and climatologists are wrong and that you and Joe know the real stuff...
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Quoting pcola57:


Sorry you don't like the images I posted..


Image is fine ;) just a tad outdated
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Quoting RitaEvac:
I can get my own image of the day...a current satellite image that is within 10 minutes of an area.


Sorry you don't like the images I posted..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
Wow, Bastardi a little vocal this morning - backs it up with some good arguments. After seeing this, the "spin doctors" will be out shortly, and I'm not talking about the rock group from several years ago. They know who they are !!

Link
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Quoting RitaEvac:
NASA must be bored today if this is the image of the day, a photo that's nearly 10 yrs old



Yeah they rotate some images and reports on occasion..
I think it is still relevant though..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
I can get my own image of the day...a current satellite image that is within 10 minutes of an area.
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NASA must be bored today if this is the image of the day, a photo that's nearly 10 yrs old

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Quoting RitaEvac:
The drought is gone, I received a trace of rain


Lol Rita..
Not funny really though.. :(
I hope you in Texas get a good old fashion soaking this year and get back to the Texas we know and love.. :)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
The drought is gone, I received a trace of rain
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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Image of the day


Ready for a Closeup - March 20, 2013



A camera attached to the bottom of a multicore caught this view of seafloor organisms and a pink dumbo octopus right before the instrument reached the bottom. A multicore drives eight plastic tubes into the seafloor to collect cylindrical samples of sediment. In 2012, WHOI scientist Joan Bernhard deployed the multicore in the Santa Barbara Basin, where she and colleagues have been studying foraminifera and other microscopic organisms that live in seafloor sediment. The camera, from an instrument loan program at WHOI, allowed them to see what kinds of surface seafloor organisms were present where the cylinders took their samples. (Photo courtesy of Dan Fornari, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
Astronomy Picture of the Day


M42: Inside the Orion Nebula - 2013 March 20



Explanation: The Great Nebula in Orion, an immense, nearby starbirth region, is probably the most famous of all astronomical nebulas. Here, glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1500 light-years away. In the above deep image in assigned colors highlighted by emission in oxygen and hydrogen, wisps and sheets of dust and gas are particularly evident. The Great Nebula in Orion can be found with the unaided eye near the easily identifiable belt of three stars in the popular constellation Orion. In addition to housing a bright open cluster of stars known as the Trapezium, the Orion Nebula contains many stellar nurseries. These nurseries contain much hydrogen gas, hot young stars, proplyds, and stellar jets spewing material at high speeds. Also known as M42, the Orion Nebula spans about 40 light years and is located in the same spiral arm of our Galaxy as the Sun.
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
Earth Image of the day


Baytown, Texas - March 20, 2013

Read More HERE



North of Galveston Bay and near the mouth of the San Jacinto River, Baytown is home to the largest oil refinery in the United States. On October 1, 2003, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of Baytown, Texas. ASTER combines infrared, red, and green wavelengths of light to make false-color images that distinguish between water and land. Water is blue; buildings and paved surfaces appear tan and gray; and vegetation is red, with brighter shades indicating more robust vegetation.

The petrochemical complex appears in shades of beige and gray, standing out from its vegetated suburban surroundings. The plant stretches to the shore in the south, and is encircled by roads on its eastern and northern sides. Covering 5 square miles (13 square kilometers), the complex includes not just a refinery, but also two chemical plants and some administrative facilities
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
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Quoting JNCali: Post#913
Wednesday already.. Morning (evening) all... Cold and clear here in the Nashville area.. looks like we have another shot at some snow come Saturday...


Thats a great image JNCali,
A statement of the conflict between winter and spring..
Absolutely beautiful..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
Big storm building just to my west and the sky is very dark looking in that direction.

Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 8 Comments: 4438
GOES East this am..

Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
Wednesday already.. Morning (evening) all... Cold and clear here in the Nashville area.. looks like we have another shot at some snow come Saturday...
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Tampa Bay NEXRAD

Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory Study Results.. Kepler Supernova Remnant


Complete Study Results HERE



This is the remnant of Kepler's supernova, the famous explosion that was discovered by Johannes Kepler in 1604. The red, green and blue colors show low, intermediate and high energy X-rays observed with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the star field is from the Digitized Sky Survey.
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6912
Quoting clwstmchasr:
First day of spring and temperatures across the North are 50-60 degrees colder than a year ago.....



Well of course!

Last year we had "Global Warming", and this year, "Climate Change"!
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909. MahFL
Largo, you better build an Ark, lol.
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good morning everyone...be back this afternoon with a new blog
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Everyone have a wonderful Wednesday! Aussie, have a great Thursday!
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Good morning to all,evening Aussie.

A good deal of sunshine with only isolated showers will prevail today in PR and adjacent islands.

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
517 AM AST WED MAR 20 2013

.SYNOPSIS...SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE NORTHEAST OF THE AREA WILL SHIFT
EAST AS DEEP LOW PRESSURE DEVELOPS ACROSS THE WESTERN ATLANTIC.
UPPER LEVEL TROUGH WILL DOMINATES THE WESTERN ATLANTIC THROUGH
SATURDAY. HIGH PRESSURE WILL BUILD ACROSS THE AREA EARLY NEXT WEEK.

&&

.DISCUSSION...LATEST SATELITE IMAGES DEPICTED PATCHES OF LOW LEVEL
MOISTURE MOVING ACROSS THE LOCAL AREA FROM TIME TO TIME. SOME
SHOWERS WERE NOTED...MAINLY ACROSS THE COASTAL WATERS. HIGH
PRESSURE SYSTEM AT THE SURFACE CONTINUES TO DOMINATE THE WEATHER
LOCALLY. THIS HIGH PRESSURE WILL MAINTAIN A EASTERLY TRADE WIND
FLOW ACROSS THE AREA. THIS FLOW WILL TRANSPORT WITH IT...PATCHES
OF LOW LEVEL MOISTURE ACROSS THE REGION. IN GENERAL...DRY
CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO PREVAIL THROUGH AT LEAST THURSDAY.

AS THE AFOREMENTIONED HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM SHIFT EAST NEXT FEW
DAYS...A DEEP LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ACROSS
THE WESTERN ATLANTIC BY FRIDAY. THIS SYSTEM WILL BRING A MOIST
SOUTHEAST WIND FLOW TO THE LOCAL AREA FRIDAY AND
SATURDAY...RESULTING IN AN INCREASE IN MOISTURE ACROSS THE AREA.
ALSO...AN UPPER LEVEL TROUGH IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ACROSS THE
WESTERN ATLANTIC. THE COMBINATION OF THESE FACTORS PROMISE TO
BRING A WETTER PATTERN ACROSS THE REGION FRIDAY AND
SATURDAY. IN FACT...LATEST SJU-GFS COMPUTER MODEL INDICATED THETAE
VALUES AT 700MB WILL INCREASE FROM 315K TODAY TO 334K BY FRIDAY.
ALSO...PRECIPITABLE WATER VALUES ARE FORECAST TO INCREASE FROM 1.25
INCHES TODAY...TO NEAR 1.8 INCHES BY FRIDAY AFTERNOON. WITH THE
UPPER LEVEL TROUGH DESTABILIZING THE LOCAL ATMOSPHERE...AND ALL THE
MOISTURE FORECAST TO BE ADVECTED ACROSS THE
REGION...THUNDERSTORMS CANT BE RULE OUT MAINLY DURING FRIDAY
AFTERNOON...WHEN THE HIGHEST CHANCE FOR SHOWERS ARE EXPECTED.

A RETURN TO DRIER WEATHER CONDITIONS WITH PLENTY OF SUNSHINE AND
LITTLE SHOWER ACTIVITY IS FORECAST BY SUNDAY AND MONDAY...AND THE
FIRST PART OF NEXT WEEK...AS ANOTHER HIGH PRESSURE BUILDS ACROSS
THE REGION.

&&

.AVIATION...VFR TO PREVAIL. ISOLD SHRA NOT XPTD TO LWR COND THIS
MORNING BUT PSBL IN AFTERNOON MAINLY AT TJBQ...ALG WITH SOME OBSCD
MTN. LLVL WIND S-SE 5-15 KT VEERING TO W AND INCR WITH HGT ABV
FL150.

&&

.MARINE...TRANQUIL MARINE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED ACROSS MOST
COASTAL WATERS...WITH SEAS OF 5 FEET OR LESS AND WINDS OF 18 KNOTS
OR LESS. HOWEVER...SMALL CRAFT SHOULD EXERCISE CAUTION ACROSS THE
COASTAL WATERS OF NORTHERN PUERTO RICO...AS WINDS REMAINS AROUND
18 KNOTS. WINDS ARE FORECAST TO DIMINISH NEXT FEW DAYS...AS HIGH
PRESSURE NORTHEAST OF THE AREA SHIFT EAST...AND PRESSURE GRADIENT
RELAX.

&&

.PRELIMINARY POINT TEMPS/POPS...
SJU 84 73 85 73 / 10 10 10 10
STT 84 74 84 74 / 10 10 10 0
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14779
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still dark daylight savings time stinks.
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Good Morning Folks..its Raining!!!!!!!!
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Good morning, everyone. Evening, Aussie. I kept hitting the snooze button this morning... A chillier morning than yesterday and that slight chance of rain when I went to bed turned into the whole state of Louisiana getting good rain. No recess for the kids today.

Breakfast's on the sideboard: bagels with cream cheese and jelly, bacon and eggs and fresh orange juice. Enjoy!
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Quoting Jedkins01:
Beneficial rain is likely tomorrow in Central Florida. Numerous showers and thunderstorms and maybe a few stronger cells will develop in response to an approaching shortwave now over Texas.

Lack of deep tropical moisture will prevent torrential rains but stronger cells and longer periods of rain will allow heavier rains in those locations that receive them.
here it comes
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NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
232 AM CDT WED MAR 20 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN AUSTIN SAN ANTONIO HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
TRAVIS COUNTY...
SOUTHWESTERN WILLIAMSON COUNTY...

* UNTIL 315 AM CDT.

* AT 228 AM CDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A SEVERE
THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL...AND DAMAGING
WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR LEANDER...
OR NEAR CEDAR PARK...AND MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 40 MPH.

* SOME LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE ANDERSON MILL...ROUND ROCK...
WINDEMERE...AUSTIN...PFLUGERVILLE...MANOR AND AUSTIN BERGSTROM INT
AP.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

DAMAGING WINDS UP TO 67 MPH WERE REPORTED IN BURNET WITH THIS STORM.
THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM...SEEK SAFE SHELTER AND STAY AWAY FROM
WINDOWS!
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895. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Brisbane
Tropical Cyclone Outlook
2:30 PM EST March 20 2013
===========================================

At 1:00 PM EST, Ex-Tropical Cyclone Tim was located approximately 210 km northeast of Townsville and moving in northwestwards direction at about 10 knots

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Tim is expected to continue moving in northwestwards direction while gradually weakening today, before crossing the northeast Queensland coast on Thursday.
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894. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Perth
Tropical Cyclone Outlook
11:42 AM WST March 20 2013
=========================================

A low is present near 13.0S 102.0E. The low is moving westwards and is not likely to develop into a tropical cyclone during Thursday. However conditions are moderately favorable and the low may develop into a tropical cyclone during Friday or Saturday. The system is expected to cross 90 E and move out of the Western region during Saturday.

Tropical Cyclone Formation Potential
=====================================
Thursday: Low
Friday: Moderate
Saturday: Moderate
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


welcome to the blog greycells!


Thanks, and cheers.There are some knowledgeable here - and friendly - an added bonus ...
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

The cell on the Williamson/Bell County line appears to be on a trajectory pointed straight at me!


you live in Teas?

Well, lookout for any possible danger from this... stay informed.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
chances for a tornado (hail and strong winds) at night...not the best way to end the day in Texas...
their time is about 11:40 PM


The cell on the Williamson/Bell County line appears to be on a trajectory pointed straight at me!
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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