Fires sweeping across the Arctic are not only significantly altering the region but are also a sign that the climate change effect scientists have predicted is coming true, said a Grand Valley expert on the Arctic.
Bob Hollister, professor of biology and leader of the university's Arctic Ecology Program, said the fires are "fulfilling a prophecy" of how warming in the Arctic would transform a region he has traveled to since the 1990s to monitor changes in tundra vegetation. His research includes current work tied to a $1 million, five-year grant by the National Science Foundation that has continued in a reduced capacity during the pandemic.
"The Arctic region is changing dramatically and I don’t use that term lightly," Hollister said. "There won’t be year-round sea ice in my lifetime. With the amount of global warming we’re anticipating, the Arctic as we know it will cease to exist and it will become more of a tree area."