Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate changes creating green and flowering mountains

15.05.2008
Our mountains are growing greener. At the border between woods and bare mountain, trees that require warm temperatures, such as oak, elm, maple, and black alder, have become established for the first time in 8,000 years. This is shown in current studies led by Leif Kullman, professor of physical geography at Umeå University in Sweden.

Over the last century, the temperature has risen by more than one degree. The cooling trend over several thousand years is broken, and this has triggered changes in flora, fauna, and landscapes. In important respects, the present state is similar to what occurred directly after the latest ice age.

"Most noticeable, alongside the melting of glaciers, is an elevating of the timberline by 200 meters. Bare alpine areas are shrinking, and typical Nordic mountain birch forests are losing ground to spruce and pine, which are more competitive in a warmer and drier climate," says Leif Kullman.

The alpine landscape is becoming generally greener and more inviting. Many mountain plants have produced profuse blossoms as well as prodigious amounts of seeds and fruits in the last few years.

Plants that were previously limited to the borderline between woods and bare mountain are now rapidly climbing alpine slopes.

"The changes are so rapid that plants like fireweed (rose bay) and rowan have even taken root in the gravel up on melting glaciers. Even wood anemones are appearing higher up the mountain," says Leif Kullman.

The alpine flora and biodiversity are thus burgeoning dramatically. More and more plants are migrating to the high mountains since the warmer climate is conducive to them, including contorta pine and cembra pine, which are not native to Scandinavia.

The distribution of the mountain landscape's various plant communities is in flux. Certain plants, such as mosses and low-growing herbs, are adapted to a short growing period after the snow melts. As the snow thaws earlier and earlier, these plants have been replaced by brush and grass heaths, which has lent the mountain slopes a steppe-like appearance. Mountain fens are drying up, which means that sedge and grass vegetation is growing denser, new species are migrating in, and in some places glorious alpine meadows are appearing. At the highest elevations, formerly the domain of sterile gravel and boulders, fens are occurring.

Changes in flora impact the conditions for the mountain fauna. Leif Kullman has observed new bird and butterfly species, such as wrens and admirals, at ever higher elevations.

The knowledge generated by the current monitoring system is a precondition for models that describe the development of a possibly warmer future.

"The alpine world is evincing truly major changes despite the modest increase in temperature. Present prognoses of a temperature increase of three degrees by 2100 will entail considerably more sweeping changes. We can expect fewer bare mountain areas, even more lush vegetation, and a richer flora," says Leif Kullman.

The studies were carried out primarily in Sweden's southern mountain regions in the provinces of Jämtland, Härjedalen, and Dalarna. Data from more than 200 sites have been recorded at various times since 1915. There is no other series of this scope in the world.

Fore further information, please contact:
Leif Kullman, professor of physical geography
Phone: +46 (0)90-786 68 93; cell phone: +46 (0)70-5641848
E-mail: leif.kullman@emg.umu.se
Pressofficer Karin Wikman; karin.wikman@adm.umu.se; +46-703 136 124

Karin Wikman | idw
Further information:
http://www.teknat.umu.se/aktuellt/kullman.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Error-free into the Quantum Computer Age

A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.

In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...

Im Focus: Search for planets with Carmenes successful

German and Spanish researchers plan, build and use modern spectrograph

Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Single-photon detector can count to 4

18.12.2017 | Information Technology

Quantum memory with record-breaking capacity based on laser-cooled atoms

18.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How much soil goes down the drain -- New data on soil lost due to water

18.12.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>