Climate crisis: Why more trees in the Arctic Circle is actually bad news

Anchorage, Alaska - The Arctic has an issue most places in the world are striving for: too many trees. The climate crisis is even making our green, leafy friends a problem.

Trees are supposed to be a good thing, not a sign of our climate crisis!
Trees are supposed to be a good thing, not a sign of our climate crisis!  © Unsplash/Maria Voitovicova

Per WIRED, Researchers in Alaska and Arizona found that white spruce, which looks a lot like your standard Christmas tree, are popping up at an exponential rate in the Arctic.

The team's study, published in Nature, focused on the trend of arctic greening, where trees that didn't use to grow so far north are marching into the Arctic Circle.

The researchers focused on the Alaskan tundra, where hardy little brush provide most of the ground cover, and big trees like white spruce didn't use to grow. But the team found that the trees are headed north at top plant speed, or 2.5 miles every 10 years.

This is a huge climate red flag, because normally the warm growing season for big trees isn't long enough so far north, but the warming Arctic isn't as inhospitable as it once was.

Roman Dial, lead author of the study, told WIRED, "When you see trees growing, you know that the climate has really shifted."

"It's not like five years of weather, or 10 years of weather. It's 30 years of climate that's established new trees in new places."

The symptoms of the climate crisis often seem harmless, like trees heading north, or blooms of blood snow caused by algae, but they show off just how fast the environment is changing.

Cover photo: Unsplash/Maria Voitovicova

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