"Save the Reindeer, Save the Arctic"

"Grazing may slow Arctic climate change, a new study finds -- but we’re gonna need more reindeer."

"Santa’s reindeer enjoy big headlines just once a year, but, in fact, they’re busy the rest of the time protecting their frozen turf from global warming. As millions of the Arctic ungulates graze the circumpolar tundra, they thin out shrubs, creating shiny clearings that bounce solar radiation back into space.

A new study from Norway says that this grazing can have a big effect on the regional energy balance by cooling surface temperatures and slowing the Arctic warm-up, which is already proceeding at double the average global pace.

“The whole northern Scandinavian tundra is grazed by reindeer. What we know is they can have a large effect in all these places…. If reindeer disappear, there will be a really negative effect,” says Johan Olofsson, a professor at Umeå University and co-author of the study."

Bob Berwyn reports for Pacific Standard January 5, 2017.

Source: Pacific Standard, 01/06/2017