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Professor Gareth Phoenix has been visiting Abisko, in the Arctic circle of Sweden, for years. He's been there in the depths of winter when the snow is several feet deep, and in the height of summer when mosquitoes are buzzing around every person (and reindeer) in sight. If there's one thing he's learnt from his years of research in the Arctic circle, it's to be prepared for extremes.
Phoenix, a professor at the University of Sheffield, studies Arctic ecosystems. In particular, the impacts of climate change on the ecosystem structure and function. The Arctic is vast and the changes occurring here—retreating glaciers, melting permafrost and shrinking ice caps—have the potential to dramatically impact the rest of the world.
Point - View - Arctic - Thing - Years
Despite this, from a scientific point of view, much of the Arctic is unexplored and unknown. One thing we know for certain is that for approximately 35 years it has seen increasing growth of vegetation—a process known as "Arctic greening." However, now it looks as though some of it might actually be turning brown.
When satellites in space detect plants on Earth they measure the "greenness index," in other words, how green the ground cover of plants is. How lush...
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