Antarctica 'Greening' Due To Climate Change

NYT Claims Antarctica May Be Undergoing ‘Unstoppable Disintegration’ Guest Post

Researchers have discovered that the rapidly growing mosses on the ice in the continent are, in fact, a result of human-induced climatic change.

Study author Dr Matt Amesbury said: "Temperature increases over roughly the past half century on the Antarctic Peninsula have had a dramatic effect on moss banks growing in the region.

Atmospheric CO2 levels have already risen to a level which the planet has not seen since the Pliocene, i.e. more than three million years old when Antarctic ice sheets were smaller and sea level was higher", - said the specialist in study of the ice Rob Deconto from the University of MA.

"It's a clear sign that the biological response to climate warming is pervasive around the globe", he said.

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".

Researchers say they found a "sharp increase" in the biological activity of moss in Earth's southernmost continent in the last 50 years.

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.

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Currently, plant life is 0.3% in what used to be a state dominated by ice. As land cover increases and the snow and ice cover decreases, the area also absorbs more heat. [Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images] The researchers have taken photos of certain parts of the Antarctic Peninsula that show a surprisingly green landscape.

University of Exeter's project lead, Professor Dan Charman, expressed that the continued rise in temperature suggests a rapid adjustment in Antarctica's ecosystem in the future.

'In short, we could see Antarctic greening to parallel well-established observations in the Arctic.

The change is because of warming temperatures, the scientists say. These accelerations in growth suggest that Antarctic ecosystems could be about to change dramatically. Global warming is turning the white landscape green.

The results suggest that even modest future warming could lead to further, rapid changes in Antarctica's ecosystems. In Antarctica, the observed change has been less dramatic.

"The likelihood of this happening is very much an uncertainty, but remains a very real possibility, which is understandably concerning", said Thomas Roland, a co-author of the study also from the University of Exeter. Although plant life is still very scarce in Antarctica, the sediments in the cores offer scientists a way to see how plant life developed and adapted to our planet's changing conditions.

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