Trees in Tundra Point to Climate Change

Study links warming to disappearing tundra

Megan Stroup

A study published in the journal Nature¬†on Sunday suggests climate change has contributed to a rapid increase in the growth of trees on the Arctic tundra. Researchers determined that small shrubs in the Eurasian tundra previously stunted by cold Arctic weather have unexpectedly grown into trees over the past several decades. Trees were virtually unknown in the region 30 years ago, when the tallest vegetation stood at about 3.3 feet, but trees taller than six feet are now common. “The growth of these shrubs is really linked to temperatures,” one researcher said. The study also indicates that the tree growth could contribute to global warming, as the treetops will absorb more energy from the sun instead of allowing the white tundra to reflect energy back into space.

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