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Rationale, concepts and approach to the assessment

  • Terry V. Callaghan
  • Lars Olof Björn
  • Yuri Chernov
  • Terry Chapin
  • Torben Christensen
  • Brian Huntley
  • Rolf A. Ims
  • Margareta Johansson
  • Dyanna Jolly
  • Sven Jonasson
  • Nadya Matveyeva
  • Nicolai Panikov
  • Walter Oechel
  • Gus Shaver
Publishing year: 2004
Language: English
Pages: 393-397
Publication/Series: Ambio
Volume: 33
Issue: 7
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

A general recognition that the Arctic will amplify global climate warming, that UV-B radiation may continue to increase there because of possible delays in the repair of stratospheric ozone, and that the Arctic environment and its peoples are likely to be particularly susceptible to such environmental changes stimulated an international assessment of climate change impacts. The Arctic Climate Impacts Assessment (ACIA) is a four-year study, culminating in publication of a major scientific report (1) as well as other products. In this paper and those following in this Ambio

Special Issue, we present the findings of the section of the

report that focuses on terrestrial ecosystems of the Arctic, from the treeline ecotone to the polar deserts.

The Arctic is generally recognized as a treeless wilderness

with cold winters and cool summers. However, definitions of

the southern boundary vary according to environmental, geographical or political biases. This paper and the assessment in the following papers of this Ambio Special Issue focus on biota (plants, animals and microorganisms) and processes in the region beyond the northern limit of the closed forest (the taiga), but we also include processes south of this boundary that affect ecosystems in the Arctic. Examples are overwintering periods of migratory animals spent in the south and the regulation of the latitudinal treeline. The geographical area we have defined as the current Arctic is the area we use for developing scenarios of future impacts: Our geographical area of interest will not decrease under a scenario of the replacement of current Arctic tundra by boreal forests.


  • Physical Geography
  • Biological Sciences


  • ISSN: 0044-7447
Lars Olof Björn
E-mail: lars_olof [dot] bjorn [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emeritus

Molecular Cell Biology

+46 46 222 72 53