Arctic ‘greening’ seen through global warming

Updated 02 April 2013
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Arctic ‘greening’ seen through global warming

Land within the Arctic circle is likely to experience explosive “greening” in the next few decades as grass, shrubs and trees thrive in soil stripped of ice and permafrost by global warming, a study said on Sunday.
Wooded areas in the Arctic could increase by as much as 52 percent by the 2050s as the so-called tree line — the maximum latitude at which trees can grow — shifts hundreds of kilometers (miles) north, according to computer simulations published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
“Such widespread redistribution of Arctic vegetation would have impacts that reverberate through the global ecosystem,” said Richard Pearson of the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation.
The Arctic has become one of the world’s ‘hotspots’ for global warming. Over the past quarter-century, temperatures there have been rising roughly twice as fast as in the rest of the world.
“These impacts would extend far beyond the Arctic region,” Pearson said in a statement. “For example, some species of birds seasonally migrate from lower latitudes and rely on finding particular polar habitats, such as open space for ground-nesting.”
In a separate study also published on Sunday, Dutch scientists said that iceshelves in Antarctica — another source of worry in the climate equation — have in fact been growing thanks to global warming.
Meltwater that runs off the Antarctic mainland provides a cold, protective “cap” for iceshelves because it comes from freshwater, which is denser than seawater, the team from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute said.
Iceshelves are the floating blankets of ice that extend from the coast. They are fed by glaciers that move ice down from the icesheet and toward the sea.
The freshwater acts as a cold coating for the underside of the iceshelf, cocooning it from warmer seas, according to their study, appearing in the journal Nature Geoscience.
This would explain an apparent anomaly: Why sea ice around Antarctica has been growing, reaching the greatest-ever recorded extent in 2010, it suggested.
Other scientists, asked to comment on the work, concurred that the phenomenon was one of several unexpected impacts from global warming, a hugely complex interplay of land, sea and air.
If confirmed, it does not detract from the broader trend — and source of concern — from warming, they said.
“This is a major, new piece of work with wide implications for assessing Antarctica’s ice mass in the coming decades,” said palaeo-climatologist Valerie Masson-Delmotte of France’s Laboratory for Climate and Environmental Science (LCSE).
She pointed to a worrying rise in sea levels in 2011 and 2012, due partly to expansion of the ocean through warming and through glacier runoff, coming from mountains and also from Greenland and Antarctica, the two biggest sources of land ice on the planet.


Brewery on backfoot after Egyptian keeper declines Man of the Match award

Updated 19 June 2018
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Brewery on backfoot after Egyptian keeper declines Man of the Match award

MOSCOW: Budweiser say they “respect the religious beliefs” of all players after Egyptian keeper Mohamed Elshenawy declined his man-of-the-match award sponsored by the American beer giant at the World Cup.
Elshenawy was nominated after his stoic efforts holding off Uruguay striker Luis Suarez in Egypt’s 1-0 defeat to the South Americans in their World Cup opener on Friday.
But the 29-year-old turned down the award due to his Muslim faith.
Budweiser told AFP on Monday: “We respect the religious beliefs of all players and worked with FIFA to put a process in place for Man of The Match winners who wish to not be featured with the Budweiser branding for religious reasons.
“Official Man of The Match winners who decline the Bud trophy for religious reasons will still receive full honors, such as Mohamed Elshenawy did, and we congratulate him on his accomplishment.”