A study conducted by Zoe Panchen examined when Arctic plants flower in Nunavut, a northern region in Canada. Winter temperatures can dip to -31 degrees Celsius (almost -24° F.) However, over the past 100 years, the region has warmed 1.5 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, recent research indicates the Arctic is warming four times as fast as the rest of the world, which could lead to catastrophic effects in the region and beyond.
Previous research has suggested that warming temperatures could make plants shift their flowering times. To validate this, and assess how severe it might be, Panchen examined the temperature-sensitivity, which is the number of days per degree Celsius that flowering time may shift. With warmer temperatures, they expected plants’ time of flowering would shift earlier.
The study covered two field sites and while changes in temperature affected each species differently, it would have a significant impact on their long-term survival having taken so long to adapt to the colder conditions. And that would have a wider effect on the ecosystem in the Arctic.