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Warmer-Weather Species Invade Arctic as Climate Warms July 15, 2011
Inuit community in Nunavut.
Life forms that are not native to Nunavut's Arctic environment have started showing up over the past few years, including a wasp-like insect.
Inuit residents of Nunavut are being surrounded by plants and animals they have never seen before as a warmer climate allows the species to expand northward into Arctic Canada.

“There’s 15 species that have been identified as exotic, meaning species that weren’t historically in Nunavut,” Environment Department spokesman Steve Pinksen told the CBC.

He said that the exotic plants could have been introduced through bird droppings or from traces of soil left on someone’s footwear.

Some insects could have been brought north in cargo aboard ships and planes, Pinksen told the broadcaster.

Scientists in Canada have recorded what they call a “substantial warming signal” across the country from 1936 to 2006, with a 9.5-degree Fahrenheit rise in mean February temperatures and a 2.7-degree rise for May.

University of Alberta researchers report this warming has brought on earlier bloom times for trees and wildflowers in the central parklands of the province.

Writing in the journal Bioscience, they write that a flower long known as the “harbinger of spring” is now blooming two weeks earlier than 70 years ago. The same is true for the province’s aspen trees.

Photo: File