Although few plants live in Antarctica (only 0.3 percent of the total area has plant life), a group of scientists from three English universities found that the amount of moss and the growth rate of plants has skyrocketed in the last 50 years, suggesting that the continent could have a green future. The study was published in the journal "Current Biology."
To reach these conclusions, the scientists analyzed five borehole samples taken from layers of moss that are preserved in the cold. The extractions were made on the Elephant, Ardley and Green Islands, which have the thickest and oldest layers of moss.
These samples made it possible to go back 150 years and reconstruct the evolution of the climate in this period.
Antarctica, known as the earth's refrigerator, is turning green from the moss and hot-climate plants that have sprung up as a result of climate change.
The researchers analyzed factors such as the amount of moss, the growth rate and the presence of bacteria or carbon that the plants were able to capture with photosynthesis. With this, they realized that in the last 50 years climate change has potentiated biological activity on the continent, since moss growth has increased fivefold in this half century.
"The sensitivity of moss growth to rising temperatures in the past suggests that disruption of ecosystems will occur rapidly with global warming, leading to disruptions in the biology and landscape of this iconic region," said the Professor Dan Charman, project manager.
If the warming continues, there will be a major retreat of the glaciers and the Antarctic Peninsula will be a much greener place in the future.
The Antarctic Peninsula is known to be one of the fastest warming regions on Earth, with annual temperatures increasing by about 0.5 ° C every decade, since 1950.
"If warming continues, there will be a greater retreat of the glaciers and the Antarctic Peninsula will be a much greener place in the future," said Matt Amesbury, the study's author.
Rising temperatures in the Arctic Glacier
At the other pole, specifically in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, an island in the Arctic Glacier, it is also being affected by the thaw.
In this archipelago is what could be the salvation of humanity and millions of food crops, in the event of a war, a natural disaster or climate change: the 'doomsday' seed vault.
The temperature has risen dramatically in Spitsbergen, where the 'Noah's ark' of seeds is located. Almost a million seeds of more than five thousand different species are preserved here.
Norway announced that vault managers are taking precautions against rising temperatures. Among the solutions they have found to guarantee the long-term security of the vault are: eliminating electrical equipment in the tunnel that produces heat, installing pumps in the vault itself in the event of a flood, and waterproofing the 100-meter-long tunnel in the mountain .
With information from EFE