RECENT LOCATIONS

Close
Add a location
Edit your saved locations

Arctic reindeer adverse to rain, says new study


Ground ice traps vegetation, making it difficult for the reindeer to eat (photo credit: Marius Fiskum)
Ground ice traps vegetation, making it difficult for the reindeer to eat (photo credit: Marius Fiskum)

Staff writers

September 28, 2012 — A 17-year study suggests that while Arctic reindeer don't mind the snow, they're adverse to the rain.

Norwegian researchers observed the birth rate of Svalbard reindeer on the island of Spitzbergen between 1995 and 2011 and discovered that "rain on snow" events can have a negative impact on population growth.

The phenomenon - dubbed ROS for short - occurs when rain filters through the snow, causing ground ice that traps vegetation -- making it difficult for the reindeer to find food.

Microtus levis, a small, plant-eating rodent found on the island of Spitzbergen, also appears to experience population declines when ROS occurs during the Arctic winter.

Researchers say the study helps demonstrate one of the "likely consequences" of climate change.

The findings were published earlier this week in Biology Letters.

Sign in or Sign up to submit a comment.




Comments





Take your weather with you, no matter where you go.

Get instant forecasts and alerts, right on your computer.

  • RSS & Data
Add weather updates to your website or RSS reader.