io9's George Dvorsky wrote
recently about the remarkable scope, and speed, of global warming.
[A] separate study published in Nature Climate Change is demonstrating the dramatic impact this is having on the north’s growing season. After analyzing satellite and ground-based data, the researchers found that temperature and vegetation growth at northern latitudes now resemble those typically found four to six degrees of latitude further south — a distance of about 250 to 430 miles (400 to 700 km).
The researchers, an international team consisting of university and NASA scientists, focused their attention on the region from about 45 degrees north latitude to the Arctic Ocean.
Their analysis showed that all the conditions for a greenhouse feedback loop are being met, including diminishing Arctic sea ice and less snow cover. At the same time, as the northern latitudes get warmer, the growing season is getting longer and plants are thriving over a wider geographical area. These changes are having a dramatic impact on the boreal areas, leading to significant disruptions in the various ecosystems.
And indeed, we’re talking about a considerably large area.
"It's like Winnipeg, Manitoba, moving to Minneapolis-Saint Paul in only 30 years," said co-author Compton Tucker through a NASA statement. Vegetation now grows in areas that were ecologically off limits only a few decades ago — a region that covers a jaw-dropping 3.5 million square miles (9 million square kilometers). For perspective, that’s an area equal to the continental United States.