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Posted Mon Aug 24 2009: from Canadian Press:
Climate change doubles tundra plant life, boosting shrubs, grasses
Climate change is already having a dramatic effect on plants in the High Arctic, turning the once rocky tundra a deep shade of green and creating what could be another mechanism speeding up global warming. In a new study to be published in the November issue of the journal Ecology, University of British Columbia geographer Greg Henry has, for the first time, confirmed that rapidly rising temperatures in the Arctic are creating major changes in the plants that live there... the average temperature in the area has increased by about 2.5 C -- "an extremely rapid change," says Henry... Henry said the new, denser, shrubbier tundra could speed up global warming even further simply because that vegetation is darker and absorbs more solar energy. Previous studies have suggested that a global spread of thicker plant growth on the tundra could have the same effect as doubling the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
[Read more stories about: climate impacts, global warming, faster than expected, methane release, albedo effect]

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