In another Christmas-themed story, I reported on a Norwegian study that showed how widespread grazing by reindeer affects the reflectivity in northern tundra regions. It turns out that when the ungulates munch shrubs and brush, they make the world cooler: Save the Reindeer, Save the Arctic.
Another sign that we may be near a climate tipping point is research from California showing that some severely burned forests just aren’t regenerating at all. The fires have become so big and so intense that all the seed stock trees are destroyed, leaving big cleared areas where there is no source for new growth — except for shrubs and brush that quickly grow to dominate the landscape and prevent new seedlings from taking root: California Forests Failing to Regrow After Intense Wildfires.
And some people think that they don’t have to worry about climate change because they heard global warming slowed down between 1998 and 2012. Not so, according to scientists who recalculated the rate of warming in the world’s oceans to show there was no hiatus: Already Debunked Global Warming ‘Hiatus’ Gets Another Dunking.
Some herds likely to lose most of their habitat as climate warms
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Digging deep into the genetics of caribou populations, scientists said the animals could disappear from most of their range in southern and eastern Canada in the next 60 years, as climate change fragments habitat.
The study, published Dec. 15 in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that caribou populations in the most climatically stable areas had the greatest genetic diversity. Climate projections, combined with the new genetic data, suggest the animals won’t fare well in the coming in decades.
FRISCO — Norwegian scientists say they’ve observed how climate-linked extreme weather events have affected not just single species, but an entire ecological community in the Arctic.
Rain-on-snow events caused synchronized population fluctuations among all vertebrate species in a relatively simple high arctic community, the scientists said after documenting how populations of three species crashed at the same time.