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Antarctica 'Greening' Due To Climate Change

20 May 2017

"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.

"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", said Dr Amesbury, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Exeter. Recent studies of the Antarctic continent have revealed some seriously handsome changes, but as the result of pretty devastating melting from global warming.

"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.

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 50 years. Those findings suggest that the Peninsula is undergoing fundamental and widespread change.

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The researchers also said that the sensitivity of moss growth rate in response to past temperature increases suggest that terrestrial ecosystems of the Antarctic Peninsula will continue to experience rapid change during future warmings.

A study of moss cores sampled from along the eastern side of the peninsula has provided a unique record of how temperature increases over the last 150 years have affected plant growth.

Antarctica is home to ice, penguins and - thanks to climate change - rapidly increasing levels of moss, scientists say.

Areas sampled included three Antarctic islands - Elephant Island, Ardley Island, and Green Island - where the deepest and oldest moss banks grow, said the report.

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"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", he added.

The study was published Thursday in Current Biology, by Amesbury and colleagues with Cambridge University, the British Antarctic Survey, and the University of Durham. [Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images] The researchers have taken photos of certain parts of the Antarctic Peninsula that show a surprisingly green landscape.

Fellow research Professor Dan Charman, also from Exeter, said the changes were likely to be significant.

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

Antarctica 'Greening' Due To Climate Change