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Table of contents

The ozone layer is in the upper part, which becomes cold.

UV Radiation and Arctic Ecosystems

When the temperature is sufficiently low in this part of the atmosphere, a larger number of beautiful mother-of-pearl clouds form, and such clouds strongly intensify the breakdown of ozone. This takes place because reactions in the clouds cause the sunlight to form chlorine compounds which, in turn, break down the ozone layer. The cold climate and the low sun make polar life particularly vulnerable.

What is taking place?

The arctic regions receive most of the increase in UV radiation in spring. If, in addition, the layer of snow and ice disappears due to enhanced warming, species which are normally protected by snow and ice will be more exposed to UV radiation.

Some organisms have evolved special strategies to protect themselves from UV radiation and can also repair some UV damage. Arctic ozone levels have been significantly depleted in the past decade, particularly during the late winter and early spring.

Publication details

Current climate models suggest that stratospheric temperatures are likely to decrease in the coming decades as a result of increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Below critical threshold stratosphere temperature, accelerated ozone depletion could consequently increase ultraviolet-B UVB, nm radiation in northern regions.

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In the subarctic and Arctic ecosystems, the UV dose received by coniferous trees in the late winter and early spring is high due to the reflectance from long-lasting snow cover. Increasing UVB radiation, as a part of global climate change, represents a potential risk for plant growth, physiology and quality Figure 1.

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The main aim of this study was to explore the effect of manipulated UV-radiation on both UV-screening and photosynthetic pigments in Scots pine Pinus sylvestris L. Both phenolics including flavonoids and photosynthetic pigments including xanthophylls are important in photoprotection of the plant photosynthesis machinery. Figure 1. Early spring conditions can be stressful for evergreen foliage of Scots pine due to the reflectance of UV radiation from long-lasting snow cover.

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