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:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April 28, ... Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ... announced a global partnership that will provide end ... use mobile banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... key innovation area for financial services, but it also plays ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 2016  A new partnership announced today will ... decisions in a fraction of the time it ... high-value life insurance policies to consumers without requiring ... Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) ... pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) available ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has ... CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned to ... the original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, ... Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of Software ... the company. Dr. Bready served as CEO ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/22/2016)... Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) , ... May 22, 2016 , ... ... powerful weapons in combating the asbestos cancer, malignant mesothelioma. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted ... , Researchers in the University of Rome’s Department of Clinical Sciences and Translational Medicine ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... Baltimore, MD (PRWEB) , ... May 20, 2016 , ... ... contaminated with Listeria, as reported by Food Safety News on May 12, 2016(1), demonstrates ... according to Ted Olsen, CEO of Baltimore-based biotech firm, PathSensors, Inc. ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 19, 2016 , ... ... research organization (CRO) has welcomed Abu Siddiqui as Director, Large Molecule & Biomarker ... executing biologics, vaccine and translational biomarker discovery studies for preclinical and clinical safety ...
(Date:5/18/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 18, 2016 , ... ... Pharmaceutical Sciences Summer Camp at The University of Toledo. This two-day camp will ... an opportunity to explore the field of pharmaceutical sciences in preparation for a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: