Antarctica turning green owing to global warming

Antarctica turning green owing to global warming

The frozen continent of Antarctic is increasingly turning green as soaring temperatures are having a “dramatic effect” on the growth of moss, according to a new study.

Since 1950s, the average temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula has been jumping by around half a degree Celsius each decade, significantly faster than the global average.

British researchers studied three sites across a 1,000-kiilometer stretch of the peninsula and found that increasing temperatures has lead to increase in growth rates of moss, providing strong evidence of climate change one of the most remote parts of Earth.

Researchers from Exeter University, Cambridge University and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) reached the conclusion after studying a 150-year period of moss growth in the peninsula by taking and studying samples from the material.

Dr. Matt Amesbury, one of the researchers involved in the study, “What we found were these large, dramatic changes occurring in all of our cores. On average, in terms of the growth rate of moss before and after 1950, there has been a four to five-fold increase in average growth rates.”

The researchers added that the change had kicked in at different times depending on the site from 1950 to 1980.

However, the growth of moss in the Antarctic Peninsula is still modest as compared with what is occurring in the Arctic, where a large-scale greening trend was recently captured by satellites.

“People will think of Antarctica quite rightly as a very icy place, but our work shows that parts of it are green, and are likely to be getting greener,” said Matthew Amesbury, a researcher with the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom and lead author of the new study. “Even these relatively remote ecosystems, that people might think are relatively untouched by human kind, are showing the effects of human induced climate change.”

A report by Washington Times informed, "The Antarctic peninsula has been a site of rapid warming, with more days a year where temperatures rise above freezing. The consequence, the study found, was a four- to five-fold increase in the amount of moss growth in the most recent part of the record."