The Response of High Arctic Tundra to Long-Term Warming
Klady, R.A., Henry, G.H.R. and Lemay, V. 2011. Changes in high arctic tundra plant reproduction in response to long-term experimental warming. Global Change Biology 17: 1611-1624.
Working within a lowland polar oasis and an upland polar semi-desert at Alexandra Fiord, a coastal lowland on Canada's east-central Ellesmere Island (78°53'N, 75°55'W), Klady et al. installed a number of clear-plastic-wall open-top chambers, which passively warmed the air and soil within them by 1-3°C during the area's short growing season, in an experimental warming study that lasted twelve long years.
Speaking of the area's indigenous plants, the trio of Canadian researchers reports that their artificial warming "enhanced reproductive effort and success in most species," and that the effects of warming on sexual reproduction were "more consistently positive and to a greater degree" in polar oasis vascular plant communities than in those of polar semi-deserts."
Klady et al. say their findings "support predictions that long-term warming in the High Arctic will likely enhance sexual reproduction in tundra plants, which could lead to an increase in plant cover," and that the resulting "greater abundance of vegetation has implications for primary consumers -- via increased forage availability." In addition, they say that "enhanced sexual reproduction in Arctic vascular plants may lead to increased genetic variability of offspring, and consequently improved chances of survival in a changing environment." And they add that "with future warming, polar oases may play an important role as a seed source to the surrounding polar desert landscape," which all sounds pretty good to us.
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IPCC. 2001. Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Maxwell, B. 1992. Arctic climate: potential for change under global warming. In: Chapin, F.S., Jefferies, R., Reynolds, J., Shaver, G. and Svoboda, J. (Eds.) Arctic Ecosystems in a Changing Climate: An Ecophysiological Perspective. Academic Press Inc., New York, New York, USA.