In a gently-written article from Greenland, Nature reports that spring is coming two weeks early in the Arctic.
The discovery adds to the litany of changes to ecosystems that are occurring in response to changing climates around the world. But the rate at which changes are occurring in the high Arctic far outstrips that seen elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere.
"We suddenly realized that the trends are dramatically stronger than elsewhere," says Toke Høye of the University of Aarhus, Denmark, who led the research. Previous worldwide studies of animals and plants have suggested that, globally, the beginning of spring is advancing by around five days per decade.
But in the frozen valleys of Zackenberg, northeastern Greenland, the rate of change is almost triple the world average, Høye’s team has discovered. "This is the first study of its kind in the high Arctic," he says. "It’s quite a surprise to see such a huge difference."
I confess, I love Mr. Hoye’s quiet way of speaking, though I do think this is exactly the sort of dry understatement that has hindered public understanding of the threat of global heating. But that’s the nature of science; facts come first, emotion far behind. For most people, I think, it’s the other way around. Here’s Mr. Hoke’s picture of the thaw…