From the “greening of the planet must be a bad thing” department and the UNIVERSITY OF EXETER comes to this breathless missive. Note: one species of moss is not equal to the implied “all plant life” in their sub-headline. Additionally, sampling only three sites [on the Antarctic Peninsula] isn’t necessarily a representative sample of Antarctica.
PUBLIC RELEASE: 18-MAY-2017
Antarctica ‘greening’ due to climate change
Plant life on Antarctica is growing rapidly due to climate change, scientists have found.
Few plants live on the continent, but scientists studying moss have found a sharp increase in biological activity in the last 50 years. A team including scientists from the University of Exeter used moss bank cores — which are well preserved in Antarctica’s cold conditions — from an area spanning about 400 miles.
They tested five cores from three sites and found major biological changes had occurred over the past 50 years right across the Antarctic Peninsula.
“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.
“If this continues, and with increasing amounts of ice-free land from continued glacier retreat, the Antarctic Peninsula will be a much greener place in the future.”
Recent climate change on the Antarctic Peninsula is well documented, with warming and other changes such as increased precipitation and wind strength.