Antarctica Turning Green Because of Climate Change

Mandy Carr
May 20, 2017

Antarctica has progressively grown more plant life like moss over the last 50 years.

'Temperature increases over roughly the past half century on the Antarctic Peninsula have had a dramatic effect on moss banks growing in the region, ' said Dr Matt Amesbury, of the University of Exeter. "The Antarctic Peninsula is often thought of as a very remote and possibly even untouched region, but this clearly shows that the effects of climate change are felt here".

"The general public has generally heard about the Arctic warming rapidly, and so if somebody asks themselves why Antarctic has not yet warmed so much, this actually gives the explanation", Salzmann said.

Warming temperatures over the past 50 years have resulted in notable "change points" in these cores that point toward increased biological activity.

The team also used models to explore what the future might hold for the continent, taking into account recent research that has suggested that the peninsula has cooled, albeit temporarily, in recent years as a result of changes in wind patterns.

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.

According to the scientists, Antarctica is turning green due to rising temperatures.

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" If the warming continues, there will be an increased shrinkage of the glaciers and the Antarctic Peninsula will be a much greener place in the future", said Mr. Amesbury. They tested five cores from three sites and found major biological changes had occurred right across the Antarctic Peninsula.

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.

The findings appeared in Current Biology on May 18.

Scientists gathered data from five ice cores drilled from three islands off the Antarctic Peninsula.

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

"Although there was variability within our data, the consistency of what we found across different sites was striking", Prof. [Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images] The researchers have taken photos of certain parts of the Antarctic Peninsula that show a surprisingly green landscape.

"If the temperatures are below 0C, it doesn't matter if they change by 1 or 2 degrees, because all the water is still locked away as ice", she says. But that doesn't disprove the growing understanding of human-caused climate change, said Marc Salzmann, a researcher at the University of Leipzig in Germany.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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