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Multi-Decadal Changes in Tundra Environments and Ecosystems: Synthesis of the International Polar Year-Back to the FutureProject (IPY-BTF)
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden .
University of Texas at El Paso, USA .
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden .
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Penicuik, UK .
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2011 (English)In: Ambio, ISSN 0044-7447, Vol. 40, no 6, 705-716 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Understanding the responses of tundra systemsto global change has global implications. Most tundraregions lack sustained environmental monitoring and oneof the only ways to document multi-decadal change is toresample historic research sites. The International PolarYear (IPY) provided a unique opportunity for such researchthrough the Back to the Future (BTF) project (IPY project#512). This article synthesizes the results from 13 paperswithin this Ambio Special Issue. Abiotic changes includeglacial recession in the Altai Mountains, Russia; increasedsnow depth and hardness, permafrost warming, andincreased growing season length in sub-arctic Sweden;drying of ponds in Greenland; increased nutrient availabilityin Alaskan tundra ponds, and warming at mostlocations studied. Biotic changes ranged from relativelyminor plant community change at two sites in Greenland tomoderate change in the Yukon, and to dramatic increasesin shrub and tree density on Herschel Island, and in subarcticSweden. The population of geese tripled at one sitein northeast Greenland where biomass in non-grazed plotsdoubled. A model parameterized using results from a BTFstudy forecasts substantial declines in all snowbeds andincreases in shrub tundra on Niwot Ridge, Colorado overthe next century. In general, results support and provideimproved capacities for validating experimental manipulation,remote sensing, and modeling studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2011. Vol. 40, no 6, 705-716 p.
Keyword [en]
IPY Glaciers Permafrost Snow stratigraphy Tundra vegetation Limnology Shrubs Treeline
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-84834DOI: 10.1007/s13280-011-0179-8OAI: diva2:562325
Available from: 2012-10-24 Created: 2012-10-24 Last updated: 2012-10-30

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