Taller plants moving into warmer Arctic 北極較高植物向更溫暖地區移動

Warming in the Arctic is causing plants to grow taller. Scientists have found this is warming the climate even further.
Arctic plant growth.

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有研究稱,低矮灌木、草地以及其它生長在北極地區的植物正變得越來越高。這一結果來自一位分析過三十年植物測量資料的科學家。該數據是從阿拉斯加、加拿大、冰島、斯堪的納維亞和俄羅斯等地採集到的,它表明是氣候變暖推動了這一變化。

文字稿

You have to be pretty hardy to flourish in the Arctic, and those plants that do tend to live just a few centimetres above the ground. But the cold north in recent decades, has seen some of the fastest rates of warming on the planet and the flora have reacted accordingly.

能在北極茁壯生長的植物得相當耐寒,而這類植物距離地面的高度往往只有幾厘米而已。但近數十年來,寒冷的北極地區的升溫速度極快,已躋身於地球各地前列,而這裡的植物群也相應地受到了影響。

It’s not just that existing shrubs and grasses have increased their stature, although that is the case, but rather that taller species are now moving into areas they never used to grow in large numbers. This shift has repercussions, an international team reports in the journal Nature. Taller Arctic plants trap more snow around them, insulating the ground from cold air. And that’ll speed up the thawing of permanently frozen soils, releasing their carbon into the atmosphere. It’s a feedback that should further warm the climate.

問題不僅僅在於現有灌木和草地的高度有所增長,雖然確實如此,而更在於原本就較高的植物種類正大規模地向其從未生長過的地域移動。據一支國際團隊在期刊《自然》上發表的報告稱,該變化造成了負面的影響。較高的北極植物會在其周圍存住更多的雪,使地表與冷空氣隔絕。這樣一來就加快了永久凍土的解凍過程,並向大氣層釋放碳。這是一種會使氣候進一步變暖的反應。

Isla Myers-Smith from the University of Edinburgh says that on current trends, the centimetres-tall Arctic plants could double in size by the end of the century. What sets this study apart is its scale – more than 60,000 plant measurements all across northern latitudes. And that’s just the modern data – the research also lent on decades of previous observations.

來自英國愛丁堡大學的艾拉·邁爾·史密斯說,照目前的趨勢來看,數厘米高的北極植物數量有可能在本世紀末前翻一番。該研究的獨特之處在於其規模之大,它囊括了六萬多個來自北緯各地區的測量結果。而這還只是現代數據,該研究還借鑒了過去數十年間的觀察資料。

1. 詞彙表

hardy 耐寒的
flourish 茂盛生長
flora 植物群
stature 高度
repercussions 負面的影響
insulating 使隔熱,使隔離
thawing 解凍
current trends 當前的趨勢
northern latitudes 北緯地區
observations 觀察結果、觀察資料

2. 閱讀理解:請在讀完上文後,回答下列問題 。 

1. What has caused plants in the Arctic to grow taller?

2. True or false? Plants that are new to the area are growing taller than existing shrubs and grasses.

3. What is causing the permanently frozen soil to thaw?

4. Why is this particular study so special?

3. 答案

1. What has caused plants in the Arctic to grow taller?
This area of the world has seen some of the fastest rates of warming on the planet and the flora have reacted accordingly.

2. True or false? Plants that are new to the area are growing taller than existing shrubs and grasses.
False. Taller species are moving into areas that never used to grow in large numbers. But also, existing shrubs and grasses have also increased their stature.

3. What is causing the permanently frozen soil to thaw?
Snow trapped around the Arctic plants is insulating the ground from cold air, which is helping to thaw the permanently frozen soils.

4. Why is this particular study so special?
What sets this study apart – or makes it so special – is its scale. More than 60,000 plant measurements all across northern latitudes. 

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