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Polar Biology

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 67–70 | Cite as

Simulated climate change: the interaction between vegetation type and microhabitat temperatures at Ny Ålesund, Svalbard

  • S. Coulson
  • I. D. Hodkinson
  • A. Strathdee
  • J. S. Bale
  • W. Block
  • M. R. Worland
  • N. R. Webb
Article

Abstract

Small polythene tents were used to simulate the effects of climate warming on two contrasting vegetation types (polar semi-desert and tundra heath) at Ny Ålesund, Spitzbergen, Svalbard. Temperature microclimates are compared within and without tents and between sites with contrasting vegetation types. Summer temperatures were increased by about 5°C in the vegetation mat and by about 2°C in the soil at 3 cm depth. Cumulative day degrees above zero were enhanced by around 35% in the vegetation and by around 9% in the soil. Soil temperatures were greatly influenced by the nature of the overlying vegetation, which at one of the sites appeared to act as an efficient thermal insulator, preventing heat conductance into the soil from above and enhancing thermal contact between the upper soil layer and the cooling permafrost below. The significance of the observed temperature differences for the ecology of the plants and invertebrates is discussed.

Keywords

Heat Conductance Soil Layer Soil Temperature Vegetation Type Climate Warming 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Coulson
    • 1
  • I. D. Hodkinson
    • 1
  • A. Strathdee
    • 2
  • J. S. Bale
    • 2
  • W. Block
    • 3
  • M. R. Worland
    • 3
  • N. R. Webb
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Biological and Earth SciencesLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Department of Pure and Applied BiologyUniversity of LeedsUK
  3. 3.British Antarctic Survey, High CrossCambridgeUK
  4. 4.Furzehrook Research Station, NERC Institute of Terrestrial EcologyWarehamUK

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