Towards an Increasingly Biased View on Arctic Change


Photo by UAF

Predicting environmental changes in the Arctic has become challenging after the conflict in Ukraine entered a hot phase, which sufficiently limited the scientific data collection and exchange from the northernmost places

Recently published cross-cutting international study Towards an increasingly biased view on Arctic change shows how well models can estimate the effects of climate change with and without research stations located in Russia.

If you take out all those Russian stations, then you’re losing that ability to define the models for basically all of Russia, which is a large area — you know, it’s about half of the Arctic, said Syndonia Bret-Harte, a UAF biologist and co-author of the report.

By removing Russia from the picture, we’re really diminishing our ability to understand and respond to Arctic change and its feedbacks on the rest of the world, she continued.

One example of a significant loss in data and prediction ability is taiga, a forest of the cold, subarctic region. The world’s largest taiga covers about 3,600 miles in Russia.

There’s a boreal forest in Alaska and Canada also but the Siberian, the Russian taiga is so widespread, and it’s subtly different in the species that inhabit it. So, you can’t just say, ‘Oh, well, it will be just like the Alaska boreal forests or just like the Canadian boreal forests. You have to consider that it might behave somewhat differently, Bret-Harte said.

Source: Anchorage Daily News

Read a news article by the Editorial Board of the Arctic Century