CAFF’s ABA Illustrates Change in the Arctic
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The Arctic Council has published an article graphically illustrating changes occurring in Arctic sea ice, temperatures and plant density over a period of 30 years, from 1982-2011.

The publication, titled 'Sea ice and vegetation trends in the Arctic,' is part of a series highlighting issues identified by the publication of the Council's biodiversity working group, Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna's (CAFF), titled 'Arctic Biodiversity Assessment' (ABA).

CAFF25 September 2014: The Arctic Council has published an article graphically illustrating changes occurring in Arctic sea ice, temperatures and plant density over a period of 30 years, from 1982-2011. The publication, titled ‘Sea ice and vegetation trends in the Arctic,’ is part of a series highlighting issues identified by the publication of the Council’s biodiversity working group, Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna’s (CAFF), titled ‘Arctic Biodiversity Assessment’ (ABA).

The first graph featured in the article shows a reduction in coastal sea ice (within 100 km of coasts) of major Arctic seas. The second graph illustrates the change in mean temperatures for full tundra from 1982-2011 based on the Summer Warmth Index, which is calculated as the sum of monthly mean temperatures on land exceeding 0°C. The third and fourth graphs demonstrate how plant density in the Arctic increased on coastal lands, as reflected by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which uses satellite data to assess, inter alia, the amount of ground covered by vegetation.

The article also reports other indicators of change: about one third of Arctic land became substantially “greener” from 1982-2012, whereas plant biomass in wetlands on Bylot Island, Canada’s High Arctic, increased by 123% as measured at the peak of summer production over the past 23 years. [Publication: Sea Ice and Vegetation Trends in the Arctic] [Publication: ABA Chapter on Terrestrial Ecosystems] [Publication: Life Linked to Ice: A Guide to Sea-Ice-Associated Biodiversity in this Time of Rapid Change]

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