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Because of global warming: Siberian tundra could largely disappear

Because of global warming: Siberian tundra could largely disappear

Status: 05/25/2022 12:24 PM

According to climate researchers, the Siberian tundra could almost completely disappear by the middle of the century. The reason: global warming. The tundra can only be saved with “ambitious climate protection”.

The tree line in Siberian pine forests is gradually displacing the extensive areas of the tundra, so that by the middle of the millennium they can completely disappear. Scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) caution against this. According to a study conducted by the Institute with the University of Potsdam The cause of evolution is global warming.

Researchers call for more climate protection

Accordingly, a third of the tundra can be saved only with “ambitious climatic protection”. This can work if the sharp reduction in greenhouse gas emissions does not exceed global warming by more than 2 degrees Celsius in 2100.

The climate crisis is already hitting the Arctic particularly hard: according to the AWI, the average air temperature in the Far North has risen by more than two degrees Celsius over the past 50 years, much more than in other regions of the world. She said this trend would continue without climate protection. AWI geological ecologist Ulrike Herzschuh explained:

The vast arctic tundra areas of Siberia and North America will shrink dramatically because the tree line is currently shifting north slowly and will be very fast in the near future.

‘It’s about survival’

The researchers used a computer simulation for the study. The result: pine forest is spreading northward at speeds of up to 30 kilometers per decade. In all of the least favorable development scenarios, there is a risk of a complete loss of a unique natural area.

Eva Kleibersberg, arctic advisor at WWF Germany, commented on the study with the words that the Siberian tundra is now a “matter of bare survival”.

Some plants and animals are only there

The tundra is considered a unique habitat for plants, many of which are found only there. Typical species are mountain oxen, arctic poppies, and dwarf shrubs such as willow and birch, which are adapted to harsh conditions with short summers and long winters. The tundra is also home to unique animals such as reindeer and lemmings, and insects such as the arctic bee.