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全球变暖将导致北极圈绿色植被大幅增长

全球变暖将导致北极圈绿色植被大幅增长

近日,美国自然历史博物馆(American Museum of Natural History)、康奈尔大学(Cornell University)等机构的研究人员预测,伴随全球气温升高,北极圈内的绿色植被面积将大幅增长。未来数十年,北极圈内的林木面积或增加50%。相关研究论文刊登在最新一期的《自然-气候变化》(Nature Climate Change)杂志上。

北极圈内如此大范围的植被增长将对全球生态系统有不可逆转的影响。

研究人员根据全球未来气温增长趋势,建立起一套预测今后数十年北极圈内的植被变化模型。研究预测,未来数十年北极圈内近半数地表植被的种类将会改变,绿色植被范围和林木覆盖率将显著增长。研究人员举例说,在西伯利亚的部分地区,林木线将向北延伸数百英里。

研究人员表示,植被变化会持续影响北极生态环境,原本北极圈地表覆盖的冰雪能将多数太阳光反射,而绿色植被却能吸收大量太阳光,不断增加的绿色植被可能导致北极地区气温进一步升高。

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Shifts in Arctic vegetation and associated feedbacks under climate change

Nature Climate Change, 31 March 2013 | doi:10.1038/nclimate1858

Climate warming has led to changes in the composition, density and distribution of Arctic vegetation in recent decades. These changes cause multiple opposing feedbacks between the biosphere and atmosphere, the relative magnitudes of which will have globally significant consequences but are unknown at a pan-Arctic scale. The precise nature of Arctic vegetation change under future warming will strongly influence climate feedbacks, yet Earth system modelling studies have so far assumed arbitrary increases in shrubs (for example, +20%;), highlighting the need for predictions of future vegetation distribution shifts. Here we show, using climate scenarios for the 2050s and models that utilize statistical associations between vegetation and climate, the potential for extremely widespread redistribution of vegetation across the Arctic. We predict that at least half of vegetated areas will shift to a different physiognomic class, and woody cover will increase by as much as 52%. By incorporating observed relationships between vegetation and albedo, evapotranspiration and biomass, 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. Such extensive changes to Arctic vegetation will have implications for climate, wildlife and ecosystem services.

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