Sci-tech

Antarctica Starting To Turn Green

Antarctica Starting To Turn Green

The Arctic is warming the fastest, but Antarctica is not far behind, with annual temperatures gaining nearly one degree Fahrenheit (half degree Celsius) each decade since the 1950s.

Every site showed a significant increase in moss growth, Amesbury said, especially from 1950-80.

The scientists analysed data for the last 150 years, and found clear evidence of "changepoints" - points in time after which biological activity clearly increased - in the past half century.

"This is another indicator that Antarctica is moving backward in geologic time - which makes sense, considering atmospheric Carbon dioxide levels have already risen to levels that the hasn't seen since the Pliocene, 3 million years ago, when the Antarctic ice sheet was smaller, and sea-levels were higher", said Rob DeConto, a glaciologist at the University of MA who was not involved in the study, according to The Washington Post.

Plant life is growing rapidly due to climate change turning the continent green.

To determine how the moss responds to temperature changes, the research team will begin studying older moss banks to map out the climate in Antarctica for the past 5,000 years.

They tested five from three sites and found major changes had occurred over the past five decades right across the Antarctic Peninsula.

He says that has already happened in some of the sub-Antarctic islands, where non-indigenous species have been brought in accidentally on the clothing and equipment of researchers.

What they reveal is that the moss has been growing more and showing more microbial activity as the temperature increases, which means that if the temperatures in the area continue to warm, the Antarctic Peninsula is likely to get a lot greener, in line with what is happening in the Arctic.

But recent research has found for most of the past 100 million years, the south pole was a tropical paradise.

"We looked at the last 150 years of records to try and give a bit of longer term context to well-documented and recorded changes in the Antarctic Peninsula from the 1950s onwards", he said.

Antarctica is the tallest continent on Earth, with an average elevation of roughly 8,200 feet.

Scientists are now considering whether to formally adopt 1950 as the start of a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene because of the astonishing global effects that modern humans are having on the Earth.

With global warming acting up more and more, the effects are starting to show.

Antarctica is the coldest, most desolate place on Earth, a land of barren mountains buried beneath a two-mile thick ice cap.

As reported by the leader of the study paleoclimatologist Dr. Matthew Amesbury, "We can't measure temperature or any other aspect of climate directly in these moss banks, but we can measure things that respond to temperature".

"In short, we could see Antarctic greening to parallel well-established observations in the Arctic", Professor Dan Charman of the University of Exeter, who led the research project, said in a statement.

The researchers said they'll continue to examine core records stretching back in time over thousands of years.


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