Greening of arctic Alaska, 1981–2001



[1] Here we analyzed a time series of 21-yr satellite data for three bioclimate subzones in northern Alaska and confirmed a long-term trend of increase in vegetation greenness for the Alaskan tundra that has been detected globally for the northern latitudes. There was a 16.9% (±5.6%) increase in peak vegetation greenness across the region that corresponded to simultaneous increases in temperatures. We also examined the changes for four specific vegetation types using an 11-yr finer resolution (1-km) satellite data and found that the temporal changes in peak and time-integrated greenness were greatest in areas of moist nonacidic tundra. These changes in greenness between 1981 and 2001 correspond approximately to a 171 g/m2 (±81 g/m2) increases in aboveground plant biomass for Alaskan tundra. This remotely sensed interpretation is conducted in the absence of long-term biomass records in the region.