Complexity revealed in the greening of the Arctic

Myers-Smith, Isla H.; Kerby, Jeffrey T.; Phoenix, Gareth K.; Bjerke, Jarle W.; Epstein, Howard E.; Assmann, Jakob J.; John, Christian; Andreu-Hayles, Laia; Angers-Blodin, Sandra; Beck, Pieter S. A.; Berner, Logan T.; Bhatt, Uma S.; Bjorkman, Anne D.; Blok, Daan; Bryn, Anders; Christiansen, Casper T.; Cornelissen, J. Hans C.; Cunliffe, Andrew M.; Elmendorf, Sarah C.; Forbes, Bruce C.; Goetz, Scott J.; Hollister, Robert D.; de Jong, Rogier; Loranty, Michael M.; Macias-Fauria, Marc; Maseyk, Kadmiel; Normand, Signe; Olofsson, Johan; Parker, Thomas C.; Parmentier, Frans-Jan W.; Post, Eric; Schaepman-Strub, Gabriela; Stordal, Frode; Sullivan, Patrick F.; Thomas, Haydn J. D.; Tømmervik, Hans; Treharne, Rachael; Tweedie, Craig E.; Walker, Donald A.; Wilmking, Martin and Wipf, Sonja (2020). Complexity revealed in the greening of the Arctic. Nature Climate Change, 10 pp. 106–117.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-019-0688-1

Abstract

As the Arctic warms, vegetation is responding, and satellite measures indicate widespread greening at high latitudes. This 'greening of the Arctic' is among the world’s most important large-scale ecological responses to global climate change. However, a consensus is emerging that the underlying causes and future dynamics of so-called Arctic greening and browning trends are more complex, variable and inherently scale-dependent than previously thought. Here we summarize the complexities of observing and interpreting high-latitude greening to identify priorities for future research. Incorporating satellite and proximal remote sensing with in-situ data, while accounting for uncertainties and scale issues, will advance the study of past, present and future Arctic vegetation change.

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