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The Greening Arctic

"Rising temperatures have brought a longer growing season in the high latitudes. Once-treeless tundra ecosystems have greened the most, while boreal forests had a more mixed response. Over the past three decades, temperatures have risen faster in the Arctic than anywhere else in the world. Consequently, the growing season has gotten longer in the far north, bringing major changes to plant communities in tundra and boreal (also known as taiga) ecosystems.

For decades, instruments on various NASA and NOAA satellites have continuously monitored vegetation from space. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) instruments measure the intensity of visible and near-infrared light reflecting off plant leaves. Scientists use that information to calculate the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), an indicator of photosynthetic activity or “greenness” of the landscape.

The maps above show NDVI trends between July 1982 and December 2011 for the northern portions of North America and Eurasia. Shades of green depict areas where plant productivity and abundance increased; shades of brown show where photosynthetic activity declined. There was no trend in areas that are white; areas that are gray were not included in the trend analysis. An international team of university and NASA scientists published an analysis of the NDVI data in Nature Climate Change in March 2013.

The maps show a ring of greening in the treeless tundra ecosystems of the circumpolar Arctic—the northernmost parts of Canada, Russia, and Scandinavia. Tall shrubs and trees have started to grow in areas that were previously dominated by tundra grasses. The researchers concluded that plant growth had increased by 7 to 10 percent overall.”

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, #IOTD #Image of the Day #NASA #earth #science #arctic #NOAA #MODIS #AVHRR
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    The Greening Arctic “Rising temperatures have brought a longer growing season in the high latitudes. Once-treeless...
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    Shit Mann.
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