The vast frozen plains of Alaska, USA, Canada, northern Europe and Asia could give way to an unnatural cover of vegetation by the end of this century, according to a new study by US and South Korean climatologists. In addition, Greenland's ice-cover, once thought to be permanent, could melt and be replaced by tundra.
To conduct their study, the research team analyzed 16 global climate models of data from 1950 to 2099 as well as more than 100 years of direct observational data to evaluate what climate change will mean to the Arctic's sensitive ecosystems.
They found that tundra coverage could shrink up to 44% by the end of this century, with warming of up to 13 degrees Fahrenheit in some Arctic locations. Drought in the region could also affect the landscape, as could wildfires, disease from insects, and changes in human land use.
According to lead author Song Feng, the additional forest growth moving northward could also accelerate climate change due to a reduction in surface reflectivity that would cause further warming.
Dr. Feng and colleagues, we appreciate these observations of the serious imbalance facing the planet's vital northern regions. Our prayers that humans work to reverse such a disastrous temperature rise and preserve not only the tundra but all Earth's delicate and life- sustaining ecosystems.
Speaking of the Arctic region's already dramatic changes during a September 2009 videoconference in South Korea, Supreme Master Ching Hai explained how we can help to regain nature's equilibrium.