WRANGEL'S ISLAND GIVES NEW DISCOVERIES TO CLIMATE SCIENCE
Scientists spent almost three months on Wrangel Island. During this time, an impressive amount of data has been collected: changes in vegetation, soil, permafrost and water bodies were studied. At the same time, research was carried out on the snow cover and sea ice. Drones were used in the study, and sensor fields were installed in the key areas, which will allow collecting statistics on temperature changes throughout the year.
The data obtained has yet to be analyzed, but scientists are already confidently saying that the changing climate is changing the entire face of the Arctic. It was possible to record a lot of evidence of this: the processes of heaving and solifluction violate the existing structure of the vegetation cover and soils, some plant species disappear, new ones appear in their place. So, for example, anomalous in density and area fields of butterbur up to half a kilometer in diameter were found where this plant had never been seen before.
However, the task of scientists is somewhat broader than simply observing the ongoing changes in the nature of Wrangel Island. The main goal is to understand how climate change affects the nature of the entire Russian Arctic. The creation of a digital cartographic model should help in this. It is difficult to overestimate the role of the system of nature protected areas as a source of detailed systemic information on the state of all components of the Arctic ecosystems.
Many reserves and national parks already conduct observations monitoring the impact of global changes on their territory, but the results of these work are difficult to generalize due to the lack of unifying principles for analyzing information, which does not allow seeing the whole picture. Here geo-information technologies come to the rescue, based on the analysis of satellite images. This is an important part of the research being carried out, which makes it possible to cover the entire Arctic region of Russia and receive both current and retrospective information on the state of the ecosystems of the Far North of our country.
While the analysis of the data obtained in Chukotka is underway, scientists are already planning new expeditions - similar studies this or next year should be carried out in the protected areas of Taimyr and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug.