Rapid advancement of spring in the High Arctic

Toke T. Høye, Eric Post, Hans Meltofte, Niels M. Schmidt, Mads C. Forchhammer

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

245 Scopus citations


Despite uncertainties in the magnitude of expected global warming over the next century, one consistent feature of extant and projected changes is that Arctic environments are and will be exposed to the greatest warming [1]. Concomitant with such large abiotic changes, biological responses to warming at high northern latitudes are also expected to outpace those at lower latitudes. One of the clearest and most rapid signals of biological response to rising temperatures across an array of biomes has been shifts in species phenology [2-4], yet to date evidence for phenological responses to climate change has been presented from most biomes except the High Arctic [3]. Given the well-established consequences for population dynamics of shifts in the timing of life history events [5,6], it is essential that the High Arctic be represented in assessments of phenological response to climate change. Using the most comprehensive data set available from this region, we document extremely rapid climate-induced advancement of flowering, emergence and egg-laying in a wide array of species in a high-arctic ecosystem. The strong responses and the large variability within species and taxa illustrate how easily biological interactions may be disrupted by abiotic forcing, and how dramatic responses to climatic changes can be for arctic ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R449-R451
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 19 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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