#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. While the Arctic is more known for snow blankets than rain clouds, a new study suggests that the number of rainy days in the region will roughly double by the end of this century. In this century, the Arctic will become wetter.
A study published in the American Geophysical Union journal Future of the Earth used climate modeling to predict how precipitation will change with high greenhouse gas emissions from 2015 to 2100.
Modeling has shown that by 2100, there will be more precipitation in the Arctic, and it will also fall earlier in the spring and spread further towards the center of the Arctic Ocean and Greenland.
The study’s lead author Tingfeng Dou, a climatologist at the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, says this would mean ‘a new Arctic’: in the past, rainfall was mostly limited to the edges of the Greenland Ice Sheet.
The authors of the study, scientists from China and the Netherlands, said that more frequent and intense rainfall in the Arctic is expected to increase permafrost melt, releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases, as well as reduce snow cover and accelerate the sea ice loss.
There will also be an increase in ‘rain on snow’, where rain hits existing snowpack and freezes, resulting in a crust of ice forming on top of or within the snow, they said. This can have serious consequences for herbivorous animals such as reindeer, as their food is trapped under the ice, as well as socio-economic consequences for people who depend on reindeer husbandry for food, clothing, transport and cultural traditions.
The Arctic is warming faster than other parts of the planet. Warming causes the expansion of southern species of flora and fauna to the North: for example, the spotted woodpecker was recently noticed in the Arctic for the first time.
Text: Ekaterina Maksimova, Photos: Nikolay Shchipko, Olga Alexandrova, Denis Kozhevnikov