After the start of the annual reindeer census of the Norwegian Polar Institute, the news was not the best. Upon reaching the Svalbard archipelago, they found the remains of more than 200 reindeer that starved to death due to climate change, something that had never happened since monitoring began more than 40 years ago.
According to the newspaper El Panorama, in December a warmer than normal temperature was registered in the area, this abrupt change in the climate caused the animals to die of hunger due to the lack of food in the area.
As the researchers found, the famine is the result of the relatively high temperatures of last winter, which, together with frequent rains, caused the pastures to freeze, causing a thick, hard ice layer that prevented the reindeer from digging. reach the vegetation.
The scientists explained that the animals had to compete for food and that for obvious reasons, the most affected were the youngest and the oldest. They also added that it is normal for some reindeer to die during the winter period, but this year the number was very high.
Ashild Onvik Pedersen, head of the census project, sees this "high mortality rate" as a consequence of climate change, twice as fast in the Arctic as in the rest of the world according to climatologists. “Climate change makes it rain a lot more. The rain falls on the snow and forms an ice sheet on the tundra, which makes grazing conditions for the animals very bad, ”he said.
Since the Svalbard reindeer population began to be surveyed 40 years ago, there was only one death rate at the end of winter 2007-2008, Onvik Pedersen said.
Sources: mundo.sputniknews.com www.todojujuy.com www.milenio.com