Climate change is the big wild card when it comes to the survival of many Arctic species. A new study shows that climate change will be both good and bad for Svalbard barnacle geese populations — although the balance may tip depending upon the severity of future temperature increases and how other species react.
Brage Bremset Hansen
The arctic archipelago of Svalbard is already experiencing dramatic effects from climate change. A new study shows how these changes can force wild reindeer to graze on seaweed, a strategy that increases their likelihood of survival— and is recorded in their poop.
Climate change is increasing the likelihood of extreme winter rain events in the Arctic. These kinds of winter storms on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago can cause a thick cap of ice to cover the forage that reindeer eat. You’d think that more frequent rain-on-snow events would spell the end for these arctic animals — but you’d be wrong.
Climate change in the Arctic means more winter rain, and consequently more rain falling on snow. The result can be a buildup of ice under the snow, which can wreak havoc with arctic ecosystems.
Global warming means much warmer winters in the Arctic, with more rain and icing. Researchers are working to understand what that will do to plants that have evolved to overwinter under a thick blanket of snow.
The last week of January 2012 brought wild weather to the Norwegian arctic island archipelago of Svalbard and its largest town, Longyearbyen. A new cross-disciplinary study provides a comprehensive look at the effects of this extreme weather event on everything from town infrastructure to the natural environment.