Vol 13, No 1 (2022)

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Theoretical works

ICE COVER OF THE EUROPEAN SECTOR OF THE ARCTIC AND SURFACE HEIGHTS OF THE ATLANTIC INNER SEAS (ON THE EXAMPLE OF THE BLACK SEA)

Kholoptsev A.V., Podporin S.A., Kononova N.K.

Abstract

An urgent problem of physical geography, oceanography and climatology is the improvement of methods for modeling long-term changes in the average water surface level (hereinafter referred to as AWSL) of the World Ocean regions. Its solution involves the development of existing concepts about the relationship of these changes with other natural processes. The solution of this problem is of greatest importance for the regions of the World Ocean, on the coasts of which there are large cities and ports. The inland seas of the Atlantic Ocean: Baltic, Mediterranean, Azov and Black seas take an important place among them.

It is known that among the most important factors of the year to year variability of the AWSL for such seas are the processes affecting the dynamics of their water balance, which are studied in the works of many domestic and foreign authors. They found that the dynamics of the water balance of the seas under consideration depends on the average intensity of precipitation and evaporation in their basins, which are caused by the corresponding changes in the total duration of atmospheric blockings (hereinafter referred to as TAB). 

The Arctic air entering the Europe area in the course of its incursions, as well as the air in the rear of the cyclones moving above Europe to the Arctic contributes to the occurrence of blockings. The characteristics of this air are largely determined by the peculiarities of its interaction with the atmosphere of the ice cover of the corresponding Arctic water areas, which depend on its total volume (hereinafter referred to as TVI). Consequently, the long-term sequence of the average annual values of the AWSL for each of the seas under consideration can be, to some extent, associated with variations in the average annual values of the  TVI in the waters of the European sector of the Arctic. AWSL may also be affected by warming of the regional climate, which causes the thermal expansion of the active layer of the sea and its average surface temperature (hereinafter AST).

Considering this, the authors put forward a hypothesis that the relationship between the TVI variations, characterizing the climate changes in the Arctic, and the long-term course of AWSL is statistically significant for some of the studied seas.  Confirmation of its adequacy would allow taking into account such relationships when modeling the dynamics of the AWSL of these seas, as well as planning economic activities on their coasts. However, this hypothesis has not been verified before.

The subject of study in this paper is the statistical relationships of the long–term course of the average annual values of the AWSL for the Black Sea, the TVI of the Arctic waters located in the European area, as well as TAB, which occur in this area.

The purpose of the work is to verify the adequacy of the proposed hypothesis.

The factual material used in the study of the long-term course of the average annual values of the AWSL for the Black Sea is the results of its mathematical modeling obtained by the ICDC (Integrated Climate Data Center) of the University of Hamburg, Germany. The information about the changes in AST is obtained from the GLORYS12.v1 (Global Ocean Physics Reanalysis) reanalysis maintained by Copernicus.

To confirm the adequacy of the specified factual material, it is compared with the archival information obtained during contact measurements at some points of Odessa, Ochakov, Sevastopol, Evpatoria, Feodosia, Kerch, Anapa, Novorossiysk, Gelendzhik and Sochi.

The information on the long-term course of the average annual TVI values in the waters of the European sector of the Arctic was obtained using information on variations in the average monthly values of the ice cover thickness and its concentration, which is also presented in the ICDC modeling results and the mentioned reanalysis.  

When assessing the average annual values of TAB in the European sector of the Northern Hemisphere, we applied the typification of macrocirculatory processes in the Northern hemisphere according to B.L. Dzerdzeevsky.

The research methodology involved the implementation of spectral analysis for the time series of the average annual values of the AWSL, which allowed us to determine the periods of the high-frequency modes of this process. When determining the average rate of each such process, it was smoothed over a time equal twice to the period of the longest period of the identified modes, after which the identified trend was equalized. The study of statistical relationships between the time series of the average annual values AWSL for the Black Sea, as well as TVI and TAB for the European sector of the Arctic, was carried out using the method of correlation analysis and Student's t-test.  The significance of the statistical relationships between the time series of the AWSL, TAB and TVI was estimated with shifts between them in time from 0 to 3 years and for the periods from 1979 to 2018, as well as from 1993 to 2018. The decision on the adequacy of the proposed hypothesis was to be made if the reliability of the statistical conclusion about the significance of the correlation of the considered time series was at least 0.95.

As a result of the research we tested the factual material and confirmed its adequacy. Considering the results of the spectral analysis, the smoothing of the considered time series when identifying their trends was carried out in a sliding window 11 years long. It has been established that, in the mean, the average annual values of the Black Sea AWSL increased at the rate of 0.048 m/year, and the average annual values of its AST increased at the average rate of 0.037oC/year over the period from 1979 to 2018, which confirms the warming of the regional climate.

During the period 2010-2018 the rate of AST growth increased, which could have led to a relevant increase in the AWSL, but actually it didn't. The latter is confirmed by the presented distributions of the average rate of rise in the level of various sections of the Black Sea surface. Consequently, the factor that counteracts the increase in AWSL has increased.

Such factors could include a decrease in the annual amounts of atmospheric precipitation, as well as an increase in the intensity of evaporation in the Black Sea basin, which was associated with ongoing changes in the TAB.

The analysis of the trends in the TVI change in the European sector of the Arctic showed that in the period from 1993 to 2018 the value of this indicator decreased significantly, but in 2010-2018, it changed at a fixed level. The statistical relationships of interannual changes in the average annual values of the Black Sea AWSL, as well as the TVI in the waters of the European sector of the Arctic in the period under review, were statistically significant if the changes in the AWSL were lagging relative to the TVI variations by 1 year. In this case, these changes occur in phase. The significance of the relationship between the changes in AWSL and the variations in TVI is also maximum at the specified time shift. Therefore, the adequacy of the proposed hypothesis is confirmed.

When discussing the obtained results, we noted their compliance with the existing concepts about the causes of changes in the AWSL of the seas. The revealed relationships show that TVI variations in the European sector of the Arctic really affect the formation of blockings over the basins of the Black, Azov and Baltic Seas, and are also able to determine the dynamics of their water balances, and hence their AWSL.

The obtained results allow us to generalize the concept proposed by L.S. Berg for the Caspian Sea on the dependence of long-term changes in its level on climate variations in the Arctic and on the mentioned seas of the Atlantic Ocean. During the periods of time when the climate is warming in the Arctic and the TVI decreases, evaporation increases in the basins of these seas, and the average intensity of precipitation decreases.

It should be noted that this dependence is weaker for the seas under consideration than for the Caspian Sea, since they are not isolated from the Atlantic Ocean and the water exchange factor is significant.

The revealed relationships suggest that further changes in the levels of the Atlantic inland seas in the 21st century will depend to some extent on variations in the TVI of the European Arctic water areas and their climate. Modern changes in its TVI are the result of a confrontation between the factors that contribute to warming and cooling of the climate in this region.

As can be seen from the obtained results, a decrease in TVI in the European sector is no longer observed in the period after 2006, although before 2006 warming factors clearly prevailed there. Consequently, now the values of the resultant factors of warming and cooling of the Arctic climate change at a fixed level.

Since it is impossible to predict further changes in climate warming and cooling factors, future variations in the levels of the inland seas of the Atlantic are not predetermined, although the justification of forecasts of some of their components can probably be satisfactory if factors invariant to the uncertainties of the scenario of further climate changes are considered when developing them.

Environmental Dynamics and Global Climate Change. 2022;13(1):4-14
pages 4-14 views

METHODOLOGICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL PROBLEMS OF ECOLOGIZATION OF FOREST EDUCATION IN RUSSIA

Kaverin A.V., Masserov D.A., Dyukov N.V., Rezakov G.R.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION

At the end of 2005, Professor V.G. Gorshkov, the author of the scientific concept of biotic regulation of the environment [Gorshkov, 1995], together with A.N. Makarieva, put forward the theory of the biotic pump of atmospheric moisture [Gorshkov, Makarieva, 2006; In memory of Viktor Georgievich Gorshkov, 2020], according to which virgin forests and swamps provide transport of moist air from the ocean to land. With this conclusion, the authors are trying to draw the attention of the scientific community and authorities to the catastrophic consequences of large-scale destruction of forest cover in many countries, including Russia. In the open letter dated 05.05.2006 (Forests as guarantors of the existence of Russian rivers and life on land (on the issue of adopting a new Forest Code)) [https://www.bioticregulation.ru/life/les2_r.php] they noted: “Scientific evidence has been obtained that the existence of rivers and precipitation on land is determined by the activity of undisturbed natural forests. An undisturbed forest is a living pump using solar energy to pump atmospheric moisture evaporated from the surface of the ocean onto land. It is shown that droughts, fires, floods, as well as hurricanes and tornadoes on land are the consequences of forest cover disturbance and the termination of the forest moisture pump operation. The destruction of the forests leads to the complete desertification of continents."

In this regard, the need to form a competent community of universal scientists and specialists from various branches of the economy, who are deeply versed in the theory of biotic regulation of the environment, is becoming increasingly acute. Appropriate environmental education should contribute to the formation and development of this community.

PROBLEM STATEMENT.

The low level of environmental education in forestry universities in Russia hinders the penetration and development of the environmental ideas in the field of forest policy, science and practice.

In our opinion, the problem comes from the fact that natural science disciplines are poorly represented in the curricula of training in this area: theoretical physics, evolutionary biology, meteorology and climatology, the ecological cycle of knowledge (ecology, nature management, etc.), that is, all those academic disciplines that, according to V.G. Gorshkova (2006) "form views on life and the environment" and guide to solving the problem of forest conservation as guarantors of conservation of biological diversity and sustainable maintenance of the global climate.

The purpose of our study was to provide comparative analysis of the content in the curricula of disciplines forming modern views on the environment. The objective of the study is to identify a potential direction for optimizing the content of curricula with disciplines of the environmental cycle of knowledge.

 MATERIALS AND METHODS OF STUDY

 When choosing universities for the survey, we used such an integral indicator as the rating for 2019. Experts have traditionally adopted the main criteria in compiling the rating: the quality of education, scientific activity, international relations, the demand for university students by employers. 496 universities participated in the rating (out of 2067 universities in the country). 52 universities of them provide training in accordance with the bachelor's degree program 35.03.01 Forestry. They annually graduate more than one thousand specialists in forestry and forestry management [https://vuzoteka.ru/universities//Лесное-дело-35-03-01].

The main source materials became the curricula of the surveyed universities in the program 35.03.01 Forestry, which provide a quantitative characteristic in hours of the share of the academic load in physics, biology, meteorology and ecology. We have selected universities included in the "TOP-10", as well as for representativeness, universities in the middle and lower positions.

The data obtained during the survey allowed analyzing the information contained on the websites of the institutes of higher education and identifying the main problems on the way to the formation of modern views on the environment among future forest workers.

 STUDY RESULTS AND THEIR DISCUSSION

 Analyzing the table, it is difficult to disagree with the associate professor of the Ural State Forest Engineering University E.Yu. Serova [Serova, 2016, p. 23-24] that “the quality of training of specialists in Russian forestry institutes of higher education raises certain questions” from the fact that “there is a lack of breadth of outlook on life, knowledge in related fields - forest biology, chemistry, economics, social sciences, etc. The forest education is most often very narrow, technical, aimed more at mastering the implementation of routine procedures that have been developed over decades than at critically comprehending and reworking these procedures from the standpoint of modern science and practice. The rapid development of related fields of science, primarily biology and chemistry, has very little effect on the theoretical foundations of Russian forestry and has very little effect on the standards of forest education.”

Considering the presence in the curricula of disciplines that form modern views on the environment (be reminded that they are necessary for understanding the role of natural forest ecosystems in the biotic management of the environment and understanding the processes of functioning of the biotic (forest) pump of atmospheric moisture, etc.), it is necessary to note the following methodological and methodical errors.

1) in 6 out of the 18 universities presented in the table, the physics was taught in a small amount - 108 hours for the entire period of study, in one - only 54 hours, and in another - it was not presented at all;

2) in 5 out of the 18 universities, the role of biology is "downplayed" (180 or less hours for the entire period of study);

3) in 10 out of 18 universities, meteorology and climatology were taught in an abridged version, and in another 5 universities, these disciplines, traditionally considered relevant for forest workers, were ignored when compiling the curricula;

4) in 6 out of 18 universities the role of environmental disciplines was clearly “belittled”, and in another one, the ecology as a discipline was not included in the curriculum;

Only in 3 out of 18 universities (items 1, 2 and 4 in Table 1) we have not identified methodological and methodical errors hindering the formation of modern views on the role of the natural forests in the sustainable maintenance of the global climate.

CONCLUSIONS

 To repair the current situation in the forest education, the curricula is needed to be essentially adjusted by increasing the role of disciplines that form the modern views on forests as "guarantors of the existence of Russian rivers and life on land." It is this idea that is being implemented by the leaders of the forest education: the National Research Tomsk State University, the Pacific State University and the Siberian State University of Science and Technology. In the curricula of these universities, a significant number of hours is devoted to the study of the disciplines of the natural science cycle (physics, biology, climatology and meteorology, ecology) reflecting the modern methodology of biotic regulation of the environment.

Environmental Dynamics and Global Climate Change. 2022;13(1):15-24
pages 15-24 views

Experimental works

IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON FLORISTIC DIVERSITY OF THE EAST EUROPEAN TUNDRA

Lavrinenko O.V., Tyusov G.A., Petrovskii V.V.

Abstract

The climate in the Arctic, including the European sector, is changing rapidly (Report..., 2021). Currently, there is uncertainty as to whether the regularities of satellite-observed greening in tundra areas indicate a change in the vegetation cover in situ. The NDVI changes are multidirectional in different sectors of the Arctic and depend on the period taken for calculation (Bhatt et al., 2010, 2013; Epstein et al., 2017; Tishkov et al., 2018; Myers-Smith et al., 2020). Non-environmental factors (atmospheric changes, orbital drift, sensor degradation, snow duration or standing water) can give “greening” signals (Gamon et al., 2013; Raynolds et al., 2013; Guay et al., 2014). The winter and spring indicators (for example, coastal spring sea-ice area) represent potential predictors of tundra vegetation productivity a season or two in advance of the growing season (Bhatt et al., 2021).

The question of what happens to vegetation over a long period is more accurately answered by studies carried out by surface methods on monitoring sites having repeated geobotanical descriptions with an accurate geographical reference. An increase in the projective cover and height of the vegetation cover, an increase in the relative abundance of shrubs and grasses, and shrub vegetation spreading on hillsides and in river valleys have been established for the tundra of Alaska and the Canadian Arctic (Sturm et al., 2001; Tape et al., 2006; Gould et al. ., 2009; Myers-Smith et al., 2019; Harris et al., 2021). In other publications (Prach et al., 2010; Callaghan et al., 2011; Daniëls and de Molenaar, 2011; Matveeva and Zanokha, 2013b), on the contrary, it is shown that, despite climatic changes, the flora and vegetation remained mainly fairly stable in Alaska, Greenland, Spitsbergen and Taimyr. The changes are often recorded only in the locations where the landscapes are being physically changed or destructed (Jorgenson et al., 2015; Pospelova et al., 2017; Lavrinenko and Lavrinenko, 2020).

Flora, as a more conservative component of the vegetation cover, retains its composition and structure much longer than vegetation (Koroleva et al., 2019), however, the dispersal of species in our time is much faster than expected. A repeated inventory (decades later) of local tundra floras (Pospelov and Pospelova, 2001; Sekretareva and Sytin, 2006; Matveeva et al., 2014; Koroleva et al., 2019) shows an increase in their richness mainly due to species of more southern latitudinal groups. Northward migration of boreal species occurs mainly along river valleys.

We calculated climate indices for Eastern European tundras, which are important for plants, using the software ClimPACT (Alexander et al., 2013) and applying daily data series (Bulygina et al., website). Over the past 30 years, compared with the previous 30 years, the annual number of frost days (by 14-21 days) has significantly decreased, the duration of the vegetation period has increased (by an average of 2 weeks) as well as the number of growing degree days (by an average of 85 °C) (Table 1).

It is important to focus attention on species discovered originally far from the previously known boundaries of their natural habitat, since they may indicate ongoing climatic changes. In this article, we supplemented the 5 local floras in the Malozemelskaya Tundra and Bolshezemelskaya Tundra, which we revisited in the period from 2019 to 2020, with 67 taxons (Table 2). The local flora "Bolvansky Nos" at the mouth of the Pechora River, which previously contained 222 species (Lavrinenko et al., 2016), has become one of the richest for its zonal positions (the northern zone of the southern tundra) and for the East European tundras in general due to new findings (34 species). The majority (69%) of the newly discovered taxons in the 5 local floras belong to the boreal fraction and there are even more such species (71%) in the "Bolvansky Nos" flora.

We also analyzed the species, which we found earlier during the inventory of 24 local floras on the islands and the mainland of the Eastern European tundra (Lavrinenko et al., 2016, 2019, marked with asterisks in the tables). The number of species discovered for the first time far from their location, which were previously indicated in the main reports of the last century, was 64. The main part (62%) of these species belongs to the southern latitudinal groups. Current locations indicate the northern limit of their spreading in the European North.

Most of these species penetrate to the north along the the valleys of rivers flowing in the meridional direction from south to north (Pechora and its tributaries, More-Yu, Neruta). Some aquatic and coastal plants have been found far north of their former locations, which is particularly impressive: Cicuta virosa, Eleocharis palustris, E. quinqueflora, Filaginella uliginosa, Juncus bufonius, J. nodulosus, Myriophyllum sibiricum, M. verticillatum, Naumburgia thyrsiflora, Potamogeton friesii, P. pusillus, P. sibiricus, Sagittaria natans, Sparganium angustifolium, Stuckenia filiformis. Many of them are not found just as specients, but they form communities and are highly vital (Lavrinenko and Lavrinenko, 2018; Lavrinenko and Dyachkova, 2021). In the last century, most of these plants were known from the middle/southern parts of the Komi Republic (Arctic..., 1960-1987; Flora..., 1974-1979) and are reported for the territory of the Eastern European tundra for the first time. The valleys of rivers flowing in the meridional direction from south to north are also a passage for the migration of meadow plants – Dactylis glomerata, Lathyrus palustris, Sedum purpureum. New locations of arboreal species (Picea obovata, Pinus sylvestris, Populus tremula, Alnus fruticosa) can be considered as evidence of their northward movement along river valleys from the forest-tundra zone and the “forest islands” located to the south.

It is concluded that climate warming in the Eastern European sector of the Arctic contributes to the active natural dispersal of plant species of southern latitudinal groups to the north, especially along the valleys of large rivers flowing in the meridional direction.

 

Environmental Dynamics and Global Climate Change. 2022;13(1):25-34
pages 25-34 views

NEW ASSOCIATION OF WOODED SWAMP WITH ALNUS INCANA WHTHIN THE IRTYSH FLOOD PLAIN (WESTERN SIBERIA)

Lapshina E.D.

Abstract

Gray alder – Alnus incana (L.) Moench (Betulaceae) in the taiga zone of Western Siberia is a rare species located on the northern and eastern borders of its area. Alnus incana occurs sporadically in the floodplain of the Irtysh [Flora …, 1992; Gordeev, 1999; Kapitonova et al., 2017], the Ob River [Taran et al., 2004], and the valleys of small rivers of its left bank tributaries [Lapshina et al., 2018].

A new association Carici juncellae–Alnetum incanae ass. nov. of treed floodplain swamps, with the participation of gray alder (Fig. 1, 2) was described in the right-bank floodplain of the Irtysh River in its lower reaches (60.73 N; 69.81 E). The association combines rare birch-alder-tussock sedge communities of floodplain swamps that develop under conditions of flooding by river waters and moderately rich ground water supply.

Differentiating species combination: Alnus incana, Carex juncella, C. canescens, Calliergon giganteum, Calliergonella cuspidata, Climacium dendroides, Haplocladium microphyllum, Lewinskya elegans, Pylaisia polyantha (Table 1).

Communities similar in floristic composition were recently described on the territory of the “Malaya Sosva” Nature Reserve under the name of ass. Alno incanae-Betuletum pubescentis Lapshina et al. 2018 [Lapshina et al., 2018]. The main difference of the new association is a taller tree layer, the development of a dense layer of gray alder (up to 70%), the dominance of tussock-forming sedges, and the complete absence of Sphagnum mosses (Table 1), caused by differences in the ecological conditions of habitats (more favorable microclimatic conditions, variability of the moistening and higher richness of peat soils in the floodplain of the Irtysh).

The new association is assigned to the alliance Salici pentandrae–Betulion pubescentis Clausnitzer in Dengler et al. 2004 (order Salici pentandrae-Betuletalia pubescentis Clausnitzer in Dengler et al. 2004) of the class Alnetea glutinosae Tx. 1937. The order and its central alliance combine low-lying eutrophic and mesoeutrophic birch swamps and swampy low forests of Eurasia fed by ground water and river water.

The good condition of gray alder in the communities of floodplain swamps (high projective cover, flowering, fruiting) allows us to expect a wider distribution of communities of this association in Western Siberia under conditions of climate warming.

Environmental Dynamics and Global Climate Change. 2022;13(1):35-48
pages 35-48 views

Хроника

The Blue Earth Project: “Is Humanity Settling its own Fate on Ecological Survival?”

Jheeta S., Chatzitheodoridis E., Dominik M., Kotsyurbenko O., Laine P., Palacios Pérez M., Torres de Farias S., McGrath K., Rezaei A., Nyambuya G.G., Gupta V., Changela H., Bhatt M.C., Simpemba P., Gustafson L., Medina M.O., Godoy-Faúndez A., Nelson N., Nielsen J.N., Smith D.

Abstract

This is a report from NoRCEL’s Blue Earth Project symposium BEP2022 held online on January 8th, 2022. We are reporting the outcome pertaining to the following question: “Is Humanity Settling its own Fate on Ecological Survival?” A succinct conclusion drawn is that the Earth is facing the sixth mass extinction of flora and fauna; this being different from the previous five extinctions, in that it is entirely due to mankind’s activities. Five invited eminent speakers delivered their input, highlighting the fact that there is extensive deterioration of the environment at large, coupled with an unprecedented demise of ecosystems leading to the extinction of species across the globe.

Environmental Dynamics and Global Climate Change. 2022;13(1):49-58
pages 49-58 views

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