The arctic tundra turns into a flowery meadow due to climate change


The remarkable images were taken on a trip to Tomsk State University in the Yamal Peninsula just 1,043 miles from the North Pole

A flowery meadow in the arctic

Grasslands come to life in a once barren tundra, a graphic sign of global warming.

Brightly colored fields of flowers grow across the Russian Arctic just over a thousand miles from the North Pole.

The array of poppies, dandelions and daisies along with the lush green grasses of these arctic edens are more akin to a temperate climate like that of Britain.

Yet the oases of vegetation seen in these photos lie at a latitude of 70 degrees North and the stunning array of flowers grows in soil that until recently was hard permafrost.

The remarkable images were taken during a trip to Tomsk State University in the Yamal Peninsula just 1,043 miles from the North Pole, according to reports.

Cottongrass flowers bloom on deserted military base


Sergey Loiko TSU / The Siberian Ti)

It’s just 1,000 miles from the North Pole


Sergey Loiko TSU / The Siberian Ti)

Traditionally, such landscapes are associated with moss and lichen with grazing reindeer herds.

On a site verified by scientists, cotton grass was growing in a remote former Soviet military base.

Specifically, principal researcher Sergey Loiko said that the Arctic in bloom is a feature of the so-called “Khasyreys” – dry tundra lakes.

These were known to be fertile, but now the speed of their creation is increasing – and the phenomenon is spreading elsewhere thanks to man.

“Normally, Khasyreis are formed over a fairly long period of time, decades in fact,” the scientist said.

The usual arctic landscape

Yet this process well above the Arctic Circle is now accelerating due to thawing permafrost.

Windblown or animal-borne seeds germinate in mineral-rich soil that is no longer frozen as the tundra becomes warmer and greener.

The same is happening near remote villages where locals have dug permafrost to get sand for construction.

Over time, the disturbed permafrost thawed, enriching the soil with minerals from its deeply frozen layers.

“This resulted in mounds covered with carpets of herbs and flowers, with daisies, dandelions, polar poppies, horsetail, several types of wormwood, cereals and even willows growing in the ‘oases’. arctic, ”The Siberian Times reported.

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An expansion in varieties of flora is now expected with the arrival of wildlife never seen before in Arctic regions, researchers say.

“Thawing permafrost is undesirable because of the potential threats to infrastructure,” Loiko said.

Yamal has also seen the formation of spectacular giant craters in recent years, believed by scientists to be caused by eruptions of underground methane as the permafrost thaws.

Now, researchers believe these areas may allow an expansion of agriculture in the far north, with cattle grazing in the summer and a better source of food for reindeer.


Chris B. Hall

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