Extreme weather chokes off reindeer food supply in Swedish Arctic
Reindeer in a Swedish corral wait to be released onto winter pastures on Nov. 30. Photo: Malin Moberg/AP
Reindeer in Sweden's Arctic are hungry, the AP reports.
Why it matters: Climate change is altering weather patterns, choking off herds' food supply.
What's happening: The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe.
- Unusually early snowfall in autumn was followed by rain that froze, trapping food under a thick layer of ice.
- "Rain-on-snow" events are having devastating effects: The food is still there, but the reindeer can't reach it.
- The animals grow weaker, and females sometimes abort their calves.
- Some retreat to the mountains where predators abound, and the risk of avalanches is great.
Elderly herders recall that they once had bad winters every decade or so.
- But Niila Inga, whose community herds about 8,000 reindeer year-round, said that "extreme and strange weather are getting more and more normal, it happens several times a year."