The consequences of global warming are most noticeable in the Arctic, which is responding to climate change previously and more acutely than the rest of the planet.
We must view the disappearance of Arctic ice as an early caution system– a proverbial canary in a coal mine– particularly, because Arctic sea ice has reached its most affordable level ever before recorded. The value of this phenomenon for its closest surrounding ecological community– the Arctic tundra— stays controversial.
Many do not envision an Arctic of huge lush green plants, chirping birds or highs in the mid-70s; but these scenes are typical of summer season on the tundra. With climate change occurring at an increasingly worrying rate and the level to which Arctic ice is disappearing, the tundra stands to change a great deal, and this, too, will affect the rest of the planet.
Tundra covers 15 % more of the Earth’s surface than all 50 U.S. states combined. The tundra shops a significant percentage of the Earth’s carbon in its completely frozen soils, keeping it locked away and not able to help in the atmosphere’s giant pool of greenhouse gases.
However, in much the same method that bodies of water keep coastal cities such as San Francisco from having exceptionally cool winters and scorching hot summertimes, sea ice conditions in the Arctic Ocean influence weather patterns over the neighboring tundra. Less sea ice is associated with warmer and drier summer season conditions on the tundra. Consistently warmer summertimes trigger soils to warm and thaw to greater depths, releasing long-stored carbon into the atmosphere in the forms of co2 and methane, both of which are potent greenhouse gases.
In much the exact same means that bodies of water keep seaside cities such as San Francisco from having extremely cool winter seasons and sweltering hot summers, sea ice conditions in the Arctic Ocean impact weather patterns over the nearby tundra. Warmer conditions on the tundra provoke unusually taller plant growth, because warmer soils and deeper thaw allow taller, woody plants to grow and thrive on the tundra. We do not yet understand which species will benefit, and which will suffer in response to ecological modification, but since each species plays a particular ecological role on the tundra, the decline of one type or proliferation of another could have an unpredictable domino impact that interferes with the tundra’s fragile food chain system.
The time is now to pay closer attention to exactly how the tundra is changing. We can look to it to find out what sorts of modifications to anticipate here at lower latitudes, which can enable us to alleviate at least some of the consequences of global warming, or at least, a strategy for exactly how to handle them.
Given trends in global warming climate change and the degree to which Arctic ice is disappearing, the tundra stands to alter a whole lot, and this, too, will impact the rest of the planet.