Antarctica experiencing rapid plant growth due to climate change


Parts of Antarctica are starting to see more greenery as temperatures rise, a new study says.

"Because we have got this wide transect now and all of the [sites examined] are showing the same response, consistently over that 1,000km transect, that makes us much more confident that it is a response to temperature change", said Amesbury. Recent studies of the Antarctic continent have revealed some seriously lovely changes, but as the result of pretty devastating melting from global warming.

The polar regions are warming more rapidly than the rest of the Earth, as greenhouse gasses from fossil fuel burning build up in the atmosphere and trap heat.

After analyzing the core samples from 150 years ago the researchers said the peninsula has warmed in the past 50 years. Researchers say their findings show "fundamental and widespread change", and that the change was "striking".

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.

The growth of green mosses in Antarctica in the past 50 years has shot up due to warming temperatures. Matt Amesbury from the University of Exeter believes the Antarctic Peninsula will be much greener in the future if the increase in the quantity of moss continues with "increasing amounts of ice-free land from continued glacier retreat".

Overall, the study finds that it may only take a small bit of further warming in the future to cause major changes to Antarctica's landscape.

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

The changes in the Antarctic also parallel the greening occurring in the Arctic, according to the study.

The microscopic evidence showed that all proxies changed dramatically over the last half century: carbon isotope discrimination, microbial productivity, moss bank vertical growth, and mass accumulation. "Every year they lock in information we can extract again when we take a core".

Researchers said their data indicate that plants and soils will change substantially even with only modest further warming.

Scientists have studied the region with an area of 640 square miles and noticed a significant biological changes.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, looked back over the past 150 years, concluding that biological activity had greatly accelerated, particularly since the middle of the 20th century. Emblematic region, "predicted Professor Dan Charman, director of the research project".