Melting Swedish Glaciers Show Treeline Was 600m Higher Just 4,400 Years Ago

Karin Jonsson/CC BY 2.0

An interesting piece on past and future melting of glaciers due to climate change coming through today: Research from Sweden shows that in a hundred years' time where there are now glaciers, there well may be trees. As glaciers melt in Sweden, scientists have discovered remains of trees from 13,000 years ago, before glaciers overtook them.

The research shows that when the land was uncovered 13,100 years ago, when the temperature was 3.5°C higher and glaciers from the ice age receded, pine trees initially colonized the mountains. Then, after a few thousands years birch trees moved in, with both living at altitudes 600m higher than the present tree line. About 4,400 years ago as the climate again cooled, glaciers began forming again and covered the trees.

Researcher Lisa Öberg points out:

We used to think that the glaciers were remnants of the latest ice age. The fact that trees grew there so recently shows that the glaciers are no older than 4,400 years. ... By studying where the tree line ran in the past, we can see what it can be like in the future if it continues to get warmer. (Science Daily)

Read the original research: Landscape Online [PDF]

Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects

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