Temperature sensitivity of willow dwarf shrub growth from two distinct High Arctic sites

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The High Arctic region has experienced marked climate fluctuations within the past decades strongly affecting tundra shrub growth. However, the spatial variability in dwarf shrub growth responses in this remote region remains largely unknown. This study characterizes temperature sensitivity of radial growth of two willow dwarf shrub species from two distinct High Arctic sites. The dwarf shrub Salix arctica from Northern Greenland (82°N), which has a dry continental High Arctic climate, is linked with Salix polaris from central Svalbard (78° N), which experiences a more oceanic High Arctic climate with relatively mild winters. We found similar positive and significant relationships between annual growth of both Salix dwarf shrub species and July–August air temperatures (1960–2010), despite different temperature regimes and shrub growth rates at the two sites. Also, Salix dwarf shrub growth was significantly negatively correlated with Arctic and North Atlantic Oscillation (AO/NAO) indices; S. arctica from Northern Greenland was negatively correlated with previous autumn (AO index) and current summer AO and NAO indices, and S. polaris with the summer NAO index. The results highlight the importance of both local and regional climatic drivers for dwarf willow shrub growth in harsh polar desert habitats and are a step in the direction of identifying and scaling changes in plant growth across the High Arctic.


  • Agata Buchwal
  • Stef Weijers
  • Daan Blok
  • Bo Elberling
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
  • University of Bonn
  • University of Copenhagen

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Miljövetenskap


Antal sidor15
TidskriftInternational Journal of Biometeorology
StatusPublished - 2018 dec 3
Peer review utfördJa