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Significant reduction in temperature and vegetation seasonality over northern latitudes
Date:3/10/2013

ork shows that in most high latitude regions we see increased productivity resulting from a reduced range of seasonal temperature variability," says co-author Scott Goetz, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. Dr. Goetz's research focuses on ecosystem responses to environmental change, including monitoring and modeling the linkages and feedbacks between forests and climate, land use change and disturbance.

The authors measured seasonality changes using latitude as a yardstick. They first defined reference latitudinal profiles for the quantities being observed and then quantified changes in them over time as shifts along these profiles.

"Arctic plant growth during the early 1980s reference period equaled that of lands north of 64 degrees north. Today, just 30 years later, it equals that of lands above 57 degrees northa reduction in vegetation seasonality of about seven degrees south in latitude," says co-author Prof. Terry Chapin, Professor Emeritus, University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The change equates to a distance of approximately 480 miles southward.

Based on analysis of 17 state-of-the-art climate model simulations, diminishment of temperature seasonality in these regions could be more than 20 degrees in latitude by the end of this century relative to the 1951-1980 reference period. These changes will affect local residents as change occurs in ecosystem services, such as in timber and traditional food production, as a result of warming temperatures. They will also impact the global community through changes in regulatory ecosystem services relating to emissions of greenhouse gases.


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Contact: Ian Vorster
igvorster@gmail.com
508-444-1509
Woods Hole Research Center
Source:Eurekalert

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