Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Using satellite observations to study photosynthetic trends in northern circumpolar high latitudes

19.05.2006


Using time series analyses of a 22-year record of satellite observations across the northern circumpolar high latitudes, scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center are assessing trends in vegetation photosynthetic activity. The results indicate that tundra areas consistently and predominantly show greening trends while forested areas show browning, indicating that the boreal forest biome might be responding to climate change in previously unexpected ways. This research is highlighted in the current issue of Earth Interactions.



According to Andrew Bunn, lead author of the paper and a post-doctoral fellow at the Center, "This research suggests that the high latitudes might not be responding to climate change as previously thought. If the ability of boreal forests to capture and store carbon in a warmer world is not as great as we’ve previously supposed, then we will have to think differently about how the planet will respond to continuing emissions of carbon dioxide."

All land surfaces above 50° N, excluding the glaciers of Greenland, were included in this study. Growing seasons were defined as May to August though early and late growing season periods were also considered. Three primary data sets derived from polar-orbiting satellites were used.


Overall, tundra areas show marked greening over the entire growing season. These patterns were consistent with relatively simple climate response seen in related work in North America, where areas responded to summer maximum temperatures while the response of forest vegetation was more complex. Boreal forests patterns indicate significant greening in May and June, with gains offset by substantive browning in July and August.

These results illustrate a need for an expanded observational network, additional analysis of existing data sets, including tree rings, and improvements in process models of ecosystem responses to climate change.

According to Scott Goetz, a senior scientist at the Center and co-author of the paper, "This work extends our previous analyses by specifically considering issues of vegetation type and density over this vast region, as well as differences in seasonality of photosynthetic gains and losses. Rather than a systematic greening of high latitudes with warmer temperature, we are seeing a more nuanced and surprisingly rapid response to changes in climate. What we’d like to know is whether these trends will continue to result in forest decline, exacerbating the impact of warming, or will the forests somehow be able to adapt? Models can tell us what is likely to occur, but we are most anxious to see what the satellite observations will reveal over the next few years."

Dr. Bunn is an ecologist interested in understanding climate change impacts on the biosphere. He is particularly interested in understanding the natural range of climate variability over the last two thousand years using natural archives of past temperature and precipitation derived from tree rings. He was awarded a Canon National Parks Science Scholarship in 2001 for work combining tree rings, remote sensing, and computer simulations of high elevation forests in Sequoia National Park. He earned a master’s degree from Duke University and a doctorate from Montana State University.

Dr. Goetz works on the application of satellite imagery to analyses of environmental change, including monitoring and modeling links between land use change, forest productivity, biodiversity, climate, and human health. Before joining the Center, he was on the faculty at the University of Maryland for seven years, where he maintains an adjunct associate professor appointment, and was a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

Elizabeth Braun | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.whrc.org

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Early organic carbon got deep burial in mantle
25.04.2017 | Rice University

nachricht New atlas provides highest-resolution imagery of the Polar Regions seafloor
25.04.2017 | British Antarctic Survey

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>