Plant life on Antarctica is growing rapidly due to climate change, scientists have found. "The sensitivity of moss growth to past temperature rises suggests that ecosystems will alter rapidly under future warming, leading to major changes in the biology and landscape of this iconic region," said Professor Dan Charman, who led the research project at the University of Exeter. "In short, we could see Antarctic greening to parallel well-established observations in the Arctic.
"Although there was variability within our data, the consistency of what we found across different sites was striking." The research team, which included scientists from the University of Cambridge and British Antarctic Survey, say their data indicate that plants and soils will change substantially even with only modest further warming.
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 ...