Biology

Antarctica increasingly green due to climate change

The climate change is a serious problem and its effects are of particular concern in the Antarctic and the Arctic Ocean. New evidence in Antarctica comes to highlight this problem, in addition to the already found increases in precipitation and wind strength.

Only a few plants inhabit this continent, only 0.3% of its surface has plant life . However, bryophyte researchers have found a very significant increase in biological activity in the last 50 years.

A team of researchers from the University of Exeter, Cambridge University, and the British Antarctic Survey extracted five cores of moss from three different locations in an area spanning around 400 miles.

Biological changes in Antarctica due to climate change

The objective was to show if there had been important biological changes in Antarctica during the last 50 years. The result was that there had been significant changes in the growth of moss banks in the Antarctic Peninsula due to increases in temperature in the last fifty years.

In the data analyzed, they observed that in the last 150 years analyzed there were turning points in the last 50 years where biological activity appeared clearly increased.

Dr. Matt Amesbury warns that if the increase in temperature continues and the retreat of the glaciers continues to leave the ground free of ice, Antarctica will be increasingly green in the future. This is because the sensitivity of moss growth to increased temperature suggests that ecosystems will rapidly alter under global warming .

Even small changes in temperature could lead to big changes in the biology and landscape of such a special and iconic region. Furthermore, parallels can be drawn between the greening of Antarctica and observations in the Arctic.

The next step is to examine thousands of years old records to see how climate change affected ecosystems before human activity began to cause global warming.

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