Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The change in Arctic nature foreshadows the global environment of the future

15.09.2009
In Arctic areas, climate change is progressing faster than in any other location on Earth.

Researchers at the University of Helsinki have participated in two new studies indicating that the changes are astonishingly fast. Many original species of Arctic areas are in jeopardy, as global warming causes species from southern areas to migrate north, where they occupy the living space of the original species.

The renowned Science magazine will publish a joint article by 25 researchers specialising in Arctic ecology. Olivier Gilg, researcher at the Faculty of Biosciences at the University of Helsinki, is one of the article?s contributing authors. The article was written under the supervision of Eric Post, professor at Penn State University.

The study results presented in the article indicate that the Arctic eco-system has experienced immense changes in the last twenty years. At many levels, the changes impact the eco-system services that the environment provides for people: the effects extend to the adequacy of natural resources, food production, climate temperature, and result in changes to the landscape. The changes in the northern nature can be interpreted as an advance warning of what is to be expected on all latitudes.

Arctic foxes and northern birch areas are in trouble

The results show that spring begins considerably sooner than before. The blossoming and pollination period of plants starts as much as twenty days sooner in comparison to the situation ten years ago. Predators are in dire straits because nutrition is now available too soon in relation to the otherwise favourable nesting period. The distribution of many insects has moved even more north. European winter moths, for example, have destroyed extensive birch areas in Lapland after moving north. Species invading new areas might supersede the original species in the area ? this is already happening to Arctic foxes, which are currently being overrun by red foxes.

Ivory gulls, ringed seals, polar bears and narwhals are examples of species with a small distribution and specialised habitats, and such species will be the first ones to suffer from the changes. They need the ice in seas to procreate and to find shelter from predators.

A publication concerning the indirect impact of climate change

Climate change also has indirect effects that appear in the interaction between different species. Olivier Gilg and academy professor Ilkka Hanski from the University of Helsinki have teamed up with Benoît Sittler, a researcher from the University of Freiburg, and studied the waning of the previously cyclical population dynamics of the collared lemming in Greenland. The results will be published in the journal Global Change Biology at the end of the year.

With mathematical models, the researchers showed that the drastic change in the population dynamics of collared lemmings is explained by the fact that snow melts sooner than before:the lemmings do not procreate as long as before below the snow, and are also easier for predators to hunt. In addition, frost-melt events in winter form ice layers in the snow layer or at the tundra's surface, which is why the lemmings are unable to find food like they used to.

Additional information:

Ilkka Hanski, Academy Professor
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of
Helsinki, tel. + 358 9 191 57745, ilkka.hanski@helsinki.fi
Dr Olivier Gilg
E-mail: olivier.gilg@gmail.com

Ilkka Hanski | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.helsinki.fi

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>