Navigation Links
Study shows more shrubbery in a warming world
Date:12/8/2011

Scientists have used satellite data from NASA-built Landsat missions to confirm that more than 20 years of warming temperatures in northern Quebec, Canada, have resulted in an increase in the amount and extent of shrubs and grasses.

"For the first time, we've been able to map this change in detail, and it's because of the spatial resolution and length-of-record that you can get with Landsat," says Jeff Masek, the program's project scientist. He's based at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Masek and his co-authors will present their study at the American Geophysical Meeting in San Francisco on Friday, Dec. 9.

The study, focusing on Quebec, is one of the first to present a detailed view of how warmer temperatures are influencing plant distribution and density in northern areas of North America.

"Unlike the decline of sea ice, which is a dramatic effect that we're seeing as a result of global warming, the changes in vegetation have been subtle," Masek says.

Computer models predict the northward expansion of vegetation due to warmer temperatures. "They predict a dramatic change over the next 100 years, and people have been wondering why we weren't seeing these changes already, Masek says.

The difference between the computer predictions and real-life vegetation may have to do with all the other factors that come into play with plants, like the availability of water and sunlight; the type of terrain; competition from other plants for soil, resources and space; and plant predators like caribou.

"The warm temperatures are only part of the equation," says Doug Morton, the Principal Investigator of the study and a researcher at NASA Goddard.

Scientists track vegetation with satellites by measuring the 'greenness' of a study area. Morton says previous studies used yearly compilations, making it difficult to determine if the increase in 'greenness' was due to expansion of vegetation cover or if what scientists were seeing was instead just the effect of a longer growing season.

For this study, the scientists focused only on 'greenness' measurements during the peak summer growing seasons from 1986 to 2010.

By using Landsat's higher, 30-meter (~98 foot) resolution and viewing the same area at the same time for 23 years, Masek and his colleagues were able to track the areas as they continued to show more 'greenness' over the years. "It makes sense," Masek says. "This is how shrub encroaching occurs. They increase in size, they increase in density, and then they move northward."

In contrast to the expansion of shrubs, the scientists found little evidence for 'greenness' trends in forested areas, suggesting that forest response to recent warming may be occurring more slowly. Masek adds that it shows how getting the big picture of warming's effect on forests will rely on continued observations from new U.S. missions that extend and enhance these data records.


'/>"/>

Contact: Aries Keck
Aries.C.Keck@NASA.gov
301-814-8858
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Brigham and Womens Hospital awarded $9.6 million to study whole genome sequencing
2. New Montana State University, Pennsylvania study reveals North Americas biggest dinosaur
3. Solar power much cheaper to produce than most analysts realize, study finds
4. UGA study documents lung function declines in firefighters working at prescribed burns
5. New study puts eco-labels to the test
6. Study of Yellowstone wolves improves ability to predict their responses to environmental changes
7. Early Earth may have been prone to deep freezes, says CU-Boulder study
8. Singapore and China scientists perform first Asian genome-wide association study on spine disease
9. Study finds climate changes faster than species can adapt
10. Global warming changes balance between parasite and host in fish -- new study
11. BGI reports study results on frequent mutation of genes encoding UMPP components in kidney cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Study shows more shrubbery in a warming world
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec 15, 2016 ... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... offering. The report forecasts the global military biometrics market ... The report has been prepared based on an in-depth market ... and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec. 14, 2016 "Increase in ... biometrics market" The mobile biometrics market is expected to ... 49.33 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 29.3% ... factors such as the growing demand for smart devices, ... transactions. "Software component is expected to grow ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016  Singulex, Inc., the leader in Next Generation ... a license and supply agreement with Thermo Fisher Scientific, ... Singulex access to Thermo Scientific BRAHMS PCT (Procalcitonin), a ... used to diagnose systemic bacterial infection and sepsis and ... aid in assessing the risk of critically ill patients ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/17/2017)... 17, 2017 The Global Implantable Biomaterials ... of around 7.5% over the next decade to ... the prominent trends that the market is witnessing ... & graft transplant surgeries and medical implants and ... is categorized into immunomodulatory biomaterials, natural, polymers, hydrogels ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... Ind. , Jan. 17, 2017  Zimmer Biomet ... fourth quarter and full-year 2016 sales and earnings conference ... Tuesday, January 31, 2017, at 8 a.m. Eastern Time.  ... will be made available at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time ... live audio webcast can be accessed via Zimmer Biomet,s ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , Jan. 17, 2017 Research ... report "Molecular Diagnostics - Technologies, Markets and Companies" ... ... diagnostics has increased remarkably during the past few years. More ... developing molecular diagnostics and 342 of these are profiled in ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... ... 2016 annual meeting of the North American Spine Society (NASS)1 demonstrate high ... the majority of cases, when PEEK-OPTIMA™ HA Enhanced is used for interbody-fusion ...
Breaking Biology Technology: