May 18, 2017

Climate change is greening Antarctica

Matt Amesbury

The entire Antarctic Peninsula is undergoing "fundamental and widespread" ecological change, a new study finds. Recent research discovered ice melting on the surface across Antarctica - even at higher elevations. Now, scientists have found moss and microbes growing on the continent.Why it matters: Researchers have known for some time that warming at both of the planet's poles is double (or even triple) that of other parts of the world. A 2016 Arctic Council report warned of large ecological shifts underway in the region. But, until recently, most believed that Antarctica was largely immune to the much higher temperatures. The new research shows that may not be the case.What they found: In 2013, researchers documented unprecedented growth of microbes and moss at the southern end of the Antarctic Peninsula over the past 50 years. That same research group recently looked at core samples from other parts of the peninsula and found the change was widespread.

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