Sometimes it’s useful to look at the big picture,especially when it comes to the global effects of climate change. In a scientific paper published yesterday in the journal Nature, researchers introduced the Vegetation Sensitivity Index, a metric used to measure the sensitivity of an ecosystem (and especially its plant life) to climate change. The result was a map showing which parts of the world would be hardest hit by climate change.
Researchers create this mapused satellite data collected between 2000 and 2013. Researchers calculated the sensitivity index by studying how vegetation changes depending on three factors (air temperature, water availability, and cloud cover) and how these factors change. Researchers have done this for each land area of 5 square kilometers. Some regions, such as Antarctica or the Sahara Desert, have been classified as barren or ice-covered, but the rest of the earth’s surface has been sorted from the least to the most sensitive to climate change over the past 14 years.
After that, the researchers inflicted the collectedinformation on a map of the earth. Green indicates low sensitivity - such areas are well adapted to climate change. The red areas turned out to be highly sensitive to climatic changes. Scientists hope to continue their research to determine whether the detected changes in vegetation are temporary or part of a larger global change.