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NASA Satellite Data Show “Greening” of the Arctic as Sea Ice Levels Remain Low

22 Sep 2020, 21:27 UTC
NASA Satellite Data Show “Greening” of the Arctic as Sea Ice Levels Remain Low
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Artist’s image of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), the eigth Landsat satellite to be launched. (Credit: NASA/GSFC)
NASA’s Landsat program—which will see its newest satellite launched in 2021—has given us a view from space of forests, farms, fresh water resources, and cities across our planet since the early 1970s — the longest scientific
record of its kind. Now, researchers have used high-resolution Landsat data acquired since 1985 to show how the Arctic tundra has in many places been getting greener as the region’s overall temperatures rise — and 2020 saw a 10-15ºF “heat wave” which contributed to more wildfires and continued loss of sea ice.
When Arctic tundra greens, undergoing increased plant growth, it can impact wildlife species including reindeer and caribou. Credits: Logan Berner/Northern Arizona University
From a NASA news release on Sept. 22, 2020:
“The Arctic tundra is one of the coldest biomes on Earth, and it’s also one of the most rapidly warming,” said Logan Berner, a global change ecologist with Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, who led the recent research. “This Arctic greening we see is really a bellwether of global climatic change – it’s a biome-scale response to rising air temperatures.”

Berner and his ...

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