Scientists used a different approach on global issues, and the new map shows the most vulnerable areas to climate change around the world. It’s important to know which regions will be most affected and which will need the most attention.
- The map was created through satellite images and stats of monthly production
- It helps in differentiating climate sensitive regions from climate impacted areas
- In the future, it could aid scientists in predicting the effects of global warming
Norwegian researchers from the University of Bergen created a new method to fully display the climate sensitive areas around the world. They collected satellite imaging between 2000 and 2003 to reveal the state of plants on a global scale. With it, they were able to trace back the effects of climate change to 14 years ago, and determine its damaging effect upon our planet.
They used the images and placed them in comparison to the production generated from those specific areas over time. Their detailed study was attributed to monthly timescales in order to provide an accurate representation. Thus, the researchers created the Vegetation Sensitivity Index, which will aid scientists in not only determining the impact of global warming, but perhaps also predict its evolution.
According to lead author of the study, Alistair Seddon from the university’s Department of Biology, they found the “ecologically sensitive regions” that will respond the harshest to climate variability. This ranged from the Arctic tundra, to tropical forests, alpine regions, steppe and prairie regions in central Asia, North America, and South America, along with forests in South America and the eastern part of Australia.
These regions were marked with green on the moment to indicate that they are highly volatile and they will adapt to factors such as temperature, water availability, and cloud cover. That means that scientists should keep a watchful eye on them for potential changes. Whether good or bad, these are the areas that will display the clearest impact of such environmental alterations.
And these changes will undoubtedly come.
The areas marked with red, on the other hand, are not just highly sensitive to climate change, but have been impacted the most. That is attributed to the northern half of South America and the Scandinavian region in Europe, along with numerous mountain ranges and rainforests. Previous studies have already shown that places such as the Amazon rainforests and the forests in the global north are very sensitive to climate swings.
Regions such as Antarctica and the Sahara desert, were labeled as barren of vegetation or ice-covered.
According to Seddon, identification of this ecological impact is crucial for future food resources, a majority of which arrive from plants. With this information, scientists will be able to better assess future consequences and anticipate how global warming affects the world vegetation both short-term and long-term. It would help them understand how the ecosystem is affected each year.
And, hopefully, researchers will be able to better understand the cause of these patterns.
Image source: techtimes.com