Disappearing Tundra

The highest mountain “tundra” terrains of the Western United States are disappearing because of warming temperatures, according to a new paper by Henry Diaz and Jon Eischeid:

In the last 20 years (1987–2006), rising temperatures have caused a significant fraction of these areas to exceed the 10°C threshold for alpine tundra classification. The result has been a 73% reduction in coverage of this climatic type. The remaining classified alpine tundra in the last 20 years now averages between ?9°C–10°C during the warmest month, so that continued warming past the classification threshold, would imply that areas where this climate type is found today in the West will no longer be present.