Arctic 'greening' seen through global warming
PARIS (AFP) - Land within the Arctic circle is likely to experience explosive "greening" in the next few decades as grass, shrubs and trees thrive in soil stripped of ice and permafrost by global warming, a study said on Sunday.
Wooded areas in the Arctic could increase by as much as 52 per cent by the 2050s as the so-called tree line - the maximum latitude at which trees can grow - shifts hundreds of kilometres north, according to computer simulations published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
"Such widespread redistribution of Arctic vegetation would have impacts that reverberate through the global ecosystem," said Richard Pearson of the American Museum of Natural History's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation.
The Arctic has become one of the world's 'hotspots' for global warming. Over the past quarter-century, temperatures there have been rising roughly twice as fast as in the rest of the world.