HS Environment | The video filmed at Utsjoki’s Karigasniemi shows how the warming climate causes the palsa marsh to collapse – Not much can be done about the phenomenon

One of the northern landscapes is in danger of disappearing from Finland completely.

Often climate change seems to be progressing slowly, somewhere in the distance. It is difficult to see the natural habitat. It is difficult to understand the one-sidedness of nature that is happening all around.

Then there are cases where the changes occur at close, visible speed. An entire habitat can disappear just like that. Nature photographer Riku Karjalainen the dramatic video piece shows how a warming climate causes the frost-heart palsa bog to collapse and disappear.

The video was shot in Piesjängä (Biesjeaggi) Karigasniemi Utsjoki in July last year. It is part of the climate change work that Karjalainen has photographed for the Sámi museum Siida’s exhibition.

“The video starts with a melting groove, and that’s how the palisades often collapse: a groove is created where water gets in, which speeds up the melting”, describes the biologist and author Inkeri Markkulawho has studied the ecological and cultural effects of climate change.

HS asked him to watch the video and tell what thoughts it evokes.

“At the end, you won’t see any palsa anymore, just ponds. It made me feel quite sad.”

Rainwater and heat get deeper from cracks in the palsa mound and accelerate the melting of the permafrost.

Palsa Swamp is a unique natural habitat of the northern nature. Remember that palsa bog is distinguished from swamps by the fact that it has a permafrost core. The permafrost inside the mounds cannot melt even during the summer. Roughly speaking, there are two types of palsas: mound palsas and box palsas.

See also  This is how quickly and often people can become infected with Corona again

Palsas are found where the annual average temperature falls below zero. In Finland, this means the head and arm of Suomeneiido: the lower legs of the fells and the lower parts of Paljaka in Enontekiö, Inari and Utsjoe.

Even a layman can distinguish palsa swamps in the terrain: the swamp has mounds clearly rising from its surface. In Finland, palsa mounds are 2–5 meters high.

Fresh research estimates that already 60–70 percent of the surface area of ​​the mounds has already melted or is severely weakened. Melting and collapsing Palsa loses its permafrost heart.

Finland palsa suits are not very old. Their age is several hundreds of years, says the paleoecologist, docent at the University of Helsinki Minna Väliranta. In the surroundings of the palsa mounds, the blueberry and blueberry thrive well, and a lot of different insects live on the palsa plains.

Palsasoi has many different types of bogs and small forms, from dry mounds to open bodies of water. This makes them a diverse ecosystem. On average, the palsas have more birds than other marshes. For example, Piesjänkä in the video is a well-known, species-rich birding place.

See also  Aerobatic collision - two pilots dead

When the palsa marsh is lost, birds and insects lose valuable habitat. With the warming, all palsa marshes in Finland are in danger of disappearing. Then one whole habitat type would be lost.

“Those hills are really handsome in the landscape, I’m always happy when I see them myself. That view will be lost and it will be replaced by ordinary northern apazas”, Väliranta describes.

Estimated from aerial photos, there are approximately 24,000 hectares of kumpu palsasoi left in Finland. In addition, there are more than 5,000 hectares of box palsa.

The disappearance of palsas is above all an alarm signal for us humans: it makes the progress of climate change visible.

The melting of the permafrost of the palsa marsh and the moist marsh type that forms on the site also releases methane, which contributes to further accelerating climate change.

Palsasuo’s varying landforms, marsh habitat types and different water surfaces make them naturally rich places where birds especially thrive.

When the palsa mound grows high enough, the peat layer on top of the permafrost can start to crack and the Palsa collapses naturally.

However, the current disappearance of palsa is not a matter of a natural cycle, but of a warming climate. The annual average temperature in the palsa swamp area has risen by 2–3 degrees in more than a century. Winters have warmed even more than this and at the same time shortened by almost a month.

Sufficient annual coolness alone is not enough to generate palsa mounds. The area must be such that too much insulating snow does not accumulate there. Mounds with ice cores are created in places where the wind can blow away the snow. Bare ground allows the frost to penetrate deeper. The rains must also remain sufficiently low. Snowfall has increased in places in Lapland.

See also  Iran: Revolutionary Guards officer shot dead in Tehran

In itself, the formation of a pile mound can happen quickly. Investigator Matti Seppälä managed to create the beginnings of a palsa mound at the Kevo research station, where the insulating layer of snow was swept away from certain points.

“The mound itself could be formed quickly, if the conditions are otherwise favorable,” says Minna Väliranta.

In practice, this just doesn’t happen anymore. From the 1990s, there were observations of new palsa mounds, but they were also short-lived. In the 21st century, no new blanks have been created at all.

An individual palsa mound can, depending on its size, collapse and disappear in a few years, Väliranta estimates.

There is nothing else that can be done other than protecting the most valuable palsa levels and curbing the progress of climate change.

Riku Karjalainen photographed the fading Piesjängä palsa swamp in July 2021.

#Environment #video #filmed #Utsjokis #Karigasniemi #shows #warming #climate #palsa #marsh #collapse #phenomenon

Related Posts

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *