Even though world leaders continue to discredit climate change, global warming is as real as it gets. As the Earth keeps heating up, vegetation across the globe has evolved its growing pattern, time of growth, among others.
A recent study has come up with an interesting revelation. It was found that plant life in the Himalayas has been expanding with an increase in global warming.
The paper available on Wiley Online Library states that researchers studied the mountain systems of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH), focusing on the subnival ecosystem.
Plants capable of growing underneath the snow are referred to as belonging to the subnival vegetation.
Data from NASA’s Landsat satellites was used; researchers said this helped in measuring the extent of subnival vegetation in the HKH area.
The vegetation cover was in-between height 4,150 to 6,000 metres above sea level.
Researchers found the “vegetation expansion” was happening at altitudes over 4,150 metres above sea level across the spread.
According to Karen Anderson from the University of Exter and Dominic Fawcett, who is the joint first author of the study, this expansion seen in the subnival vegetation would be integral to the HKH hydrology.
As the “snowlines ascend” and “glaciers melt” further due to global warming, the plant expansion would become even more important, as it covers between “five and 15 times the area of permanent ice and snow.”
The study, however, found variation in the expansion, depending on the height and geographical distribution. The maximum increase was found in plants located in between the height range of 5,000 and 5,500 metres above the sea level.
The results of the study were consistent with earlier models that showed “a decline in areas where temperatures” were “too low for plants to grow due to global warming”.
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