Could palm trees grow in the Antarctic ?
August 2, 2012 | 13 comments
Image Credit: Calee Allen / NOAA
If climate change continues then the Antarctic could be transformed in to a lush forest zone.
The prediction comes following the discovery by scientists of evidence suggesting that the Antarctic would have once been a tropical zone covered in trees 55 million years ago. By studying this prehistoric world it is hoped that researchers can learn more about what the future might have in store if global warming continues.
With summer temperatures of 21C and winter temperatures as high as 10C, the frost-free forests would have remained warm even throughout long periods of darkness. "Our work carries a sobering message," said Dr James Bendle. "Carbon dioxide levels are rising rapidly through human combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation. Atmospherically speaking we are heading rapidly back in time towards the Eocene."
Scientists have discovered plants similar to palm trees growing in the Antarctic region during the early Eocene era, when the area had a near-tropical climate.
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