Life in the tundra

By | Science & Technology
Credit@ngaire hart (lawson)v The population of deer on Svalbard is increasing due to global warming.

The general consensus, based on collected data, is that the world is starting to get warmer on a yearly basis. Global warming has spread throughout the world and has shown to affect the Polar Regions. With the change in temperature it invites an altered environment that may prove to change the way people live their lives. In particular it has shown to affect a number of wildlife species and their habitats. In one instance global warming has shown to be beneficial towards a certain type of reindeer. As a result the deer will be afforded a greater chance of survival based on their growing number.

Reindeer on the Norwegian Island of Svalbard are flourishing in the increased temperature as the results of a 30 year study has demonstrated. The research was carried out over the animals on the island of Spitsbergen and valley of Adventdalen. The recorded data has shown a 30 percent increase in 2014. 1300 deers have been documented in Adventdalen. Jonathan Codd of the University of Manchester led the team that made the consensus. He has said “having better food sources means the reindeer are in better condition and therefore more able to cope with the Arctic winter”. As the deer are healthy, their prosperity can be attributed to the increase in food.

credit@Arctic Alviaflickr.com

credit@Arctic Alviaflickr.com

The Svalbard deer have been documented to show a number of adaptations that could contribute to their hardiness. They possess a thick layer of fat in order to stand the cold winters. The temperatures can fluctuate between 23 and -13 degrees Fahrenheit. Their ability to react to the environment may appear to be focused on the winter months. Codd has insisted that reindeer are adaptable to a variety of changes in food sources and weather.

A biologist at the University of Alaska, Perry Barboza, has stated that reindeer populations can undergo fluctuating cycles that make long term studies such as the Svalbard consensus invaluable. If the population is continually monitored, then it will lead to more opportunities to help the animals thrive.

Codd also mentioned that although there may be other factors to account for the growth, climate change is a leading cause in animal population. The Svalbard deer join other species that are affected by global warming. Orange-spotted filefish, Adelie penguins, North Atlantic cod and polar bears are all on the list. These noble creatures are deserving of the best protection in order to ensure that, just like the deer, their numbers improve.

Methods of how to lessen global warming has been an ongoing debate. Scientists predict that the Earth may warm by 2.5 degrees to 10 degrees dependent on the choices people make. One of the main goals is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations to twice pre-industrial levels. By doing so, the ozone layer will be preserved.

Researchers at Princeton University, Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow, have come up with a “stabilization wedge” approach. This is a method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions via technology available in the coming decades. This is preferable to relying on a large change in a single area. They have proposed 7 wedges that could potentially hold emission levels for the next 50 years. Another method that has been discussed is amplifying the amount of gases that are taken out of the atmosphere by increasing the numbers of plants and trees, absorbing CO2 and therefore trapping the gas in a natural way.

Should trends remain as they are then the future of the Svalbard deer is guaranteed to be positive. The future of all animals may be dependent on how society reacts to the environment. Climate change has proven to have its advantages for certain species. Conservation programs may be set in motion to help ease the effects of global warming.

What other methods are there to reduce the rate of global warming?

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