How climate change alters competition for food in the Arctic

Competition between belugas and Greenland halibut in Cumberland Sound in the Arctic has changed with the climate. Belugas and halibut are considered intraguild predators, i.e. predators that feed on one another to reduce competition for resources. Researchers have tracked predation between the two species over a 30-year period. Their findings show that the belugas consume […]

Biodiversity in shallow Arctic lakes

Shallow Arctic lakes that remain unfrozen throughout the year contain more diverse biofilms than lakes that freeze up for a period of time, a new study has found. Researchers analyzed the genetic material of biofilm—which is a group of microorganisms that stick to one another, forming a so-called “microbial mat” on the surface of a lake—in […]

The cycle of mercury pollution in the Arctic tundra

Human activity has been a major source of mercury pollution in the Arctic, and a new study has identified the form most often taken by the pollutant: gaseous elemental mercury (GEM). The News & Views article discusses how the Arctic tundra acts as a major sink for mercury, as the local plants uptake GEM from the […]

As levels of sea-ice decline, so do polar bear populations

The Arctic sea-ice is vital to polar bears’ hunting and breeding habits. So it comes as no surprise that the decline in sea-ice as a result of anthropogenic climate change has a great effect on the polar bear populations. An international team of researchers further demonstrated this vital relationship by calculating probability in population decrease […]

Bird droppings responsible for a small but much-needed dip in Arctic temperature

Droppings from migratory seabirds are linked to cloud formation in the Arctic, offering a small cooling effect in the region. Clouds have offered a respite from rapid rise in Arctic temperatures, but previously there wasn’t much information available about the source of cloud growth. Using a combination of observations and computer modelling, a team of […]

How much fossil fuel can we exploit?

Canada would need to leave 75 per cent of its oil in the ground as part of a global effort to cap global warming at two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a new study shows. The authors also conclude that the exploitation of resources in the Arctic should be ruled out. Using computer models, the authors found that […]

Arctic sea-ice decline has made severe Eurasian winters twice as likely

The decline in Arctic sea ice over the past few decades has doubled the chance of severe winters in Europe and Asia, a new study shows. Researchers performed computer simulations to show that sea-ice decline in the Arctic Barents and Kara seas since 2004 is linked to blocking situations of the jetstream which in turn […]

Climate change: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability

At 8 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, March 30, 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II released its Summary for Policymakers at the end of a week-long meeting in Yokohama, Japan. This is the second of the three working groups that together produced the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). For more […]

Predators are the main drivers of the Arctic tundra food chain

A new study shows that predators (Arctic fox, wolves, stoat, snowy owls) are the main drivers of the Arctic tundra food chain. Usually, predators regulate the food chain in a given ecosystem, but researchers previously thought that this view did not apply to the Arctic tundra as there are too few herbivores such as caribou, […]

Shrubs duke it out in a warming Arctic

As the Arctic tundra warms, will fast-growing leafy plants come to dominate the landscape, or will they lose out to the slow-but-steady evergreens? The results of a 8-year experiment using plastic greenhouses to simulate warmer temperatures seem to indicate the latter. Even though deciduous trees are better at exploiting fertile environments, the tougher evergreens grew […]

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