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How will Vegetation Seasonality Change in the Future?

The answer is: we do not know. It depends on how climate will change over the next 100 years, the condition of the ground, nutrient availability, ability of plants to adapt, compete and migrate. Ultimately, the unchanging solar radiation amount will set a hard limit to plant growth.

A careful analysis of the data underlying the linear relationship between temperature and vegetation seasonality reveals:

  • In the Arctic, vegetation seasonality diminishment is accelerating over time. That is, the Arctic is greening faster over time.
  • In the Boreal region, vegetation seasonality diminishment is decelerating over time. That is, the greening of the Boreal region is decreasing over time.

What is spurring this Arctic greening?

  • It could be the enhanced rate of warming itself, availability of sufficient nutrients and possibly climatic hospitality enabling migration of more productive plant species from the south.

What is dampening the Boreal greening?

  • It could be due to a growing mis-match between warming and lack of comparable increase in rainfall. This could create conditions for increased incidences of fires and insect attacks. Surprisingly, the Eurasian Boreal forests are becoming increasingly productive while the North American Boreal forests are not, as can be clearly seen in this figure.
Climate and Vegetation Research Group
Dept. of Geography,Boston University. XXX-XX-2013