An extreme snowfall event last year in northeast Greenland resulted in a major reproductive failure, scientists claim.
The Arctic was subjected to a large amount of snow in 2018, which did not melt until the late summer season. Within the journal, researchers examined the results of this incident by evaluating the more extreme year to the previous 20 years.
However, scientists have noticed that the Arctic is changing, and the area is experiencing both long-term warming and retreating snow-cover.
Although the influence of longer-term change is well-documented, researchers know much less about how climate variability and extreme weather events affect the Arctic.
“One non-breeding year is hardly that bad for high-arctic species,” Niels Martin Schmidt, of Aarhus University in Denmark also lead author of the study, stated in a statement. “The worrying perspective is that 2018 might offer a peep into the future, where elevated climatic variability might push the arctic species to and probably beyond their limits.”
He explained: “Our research reveals that climate change is more than ‘just’ warming and that ecosystems may be hard hit by currently still uncommon, however excessive events. What is additionally brings out is the unparalleled worth of long-term observations of the Arctic. Only by keeping track of full arctic ecosystems can we understand the havoc brought by the changing climate.”