Global Warming Is Turning Antarctica Green, Study Says

Global Warming Is Turning Antarctica Green, Study Says

The Antarctic Peninsula is undergoing a widespread transformation after a half-century of warming, fueling a "greening" at the edges of the inhospitable continent at the bottom of the world, new research concludes.

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".

Matthew Amesbury, the lead author of the study from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom said that the study shows striking changes in the ecology of the peninsula, likely caused by warming temperatures.

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

Lead researcher Matt Amesbury said the research focused on moss banks that slowly accumulate by growing a few millimetres each summer along the peninsula.

As stated by scientists, acceleration of biological activity occurred during the last 50 years. Researchers were able to determine the effects climate change has on moss by looking at samples of moss bank cores.

Increases in ice-free land also limit how much sunlight is reflected back into space, which results in more solar radiation being absorbed by the surrounding waters. Amerbury believes that the situation in Antarctic in far from what is happening in the Arctic but continued warming shall bring out a different landscape.

" The sensitivity of foam growth to the rise in temperature in the past suggests that adjustment of ecosystems will occur rapidly with the current global warming, which will result in upheavals in the biology and landscape of this ecosystem".

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

Moss growth has "increased by 4 or 5 times" in the past five decades, according to Tom Roland, one of the co-authors of the report.

The change is because of warming temperatures, the scientists say.

"Today that photo would show extensive patches of green", he noted. These accelerations in growth suggest that Antarctic ecosystems could be about to change dramatically. In recent years, the region has seen new lows for sea ice cover and set stunning temperature records.

The researchers said they'll continue to examine core records dating back over thousands of years to test how much climate change affected ecosystems before human activity started causing global warming. In Antarctica, the observed change has been less dramatic.

"People keep thinking about Antarctica, and quite rightly, as a very cold place, but our work shows that some of its parts are green, and are likely to be even greener". The higher elevation of Antarctica also allows less room for carbon dioxide and water vapor.

The Antarctic Peninsula, which juts out towards South America, is one of the most rapidly warming places on Earth.

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