Arctic shrubs looming large: Climate change and tundra productivity

James Hudson_sAll around the world, the subtle—and not-so-subtle—impacts of climate change are becoming apparent.  In the Arctic, where temperatures are warming at about twice the rate of lower latitudes, researchers are discovering marked changes in the landscape. In this month’s Field Talk, we take a trip to the High Arctic with James Hudson, whose paper in the October issue of Ecology looks at a tundra community on Canada’s Ellesmere Island. Hudson and his colleagues found that changes in temperature and seasonality are causing the normally low-lying shrubs in this area to grow to nearly twice their usual weight. Given the importance of the Arctic to global nutrient cycling, these types of studies can provide a road map to identifying areas of likely change.

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