Research shows Antarctica at one time had mild weather and palms and conifers Mercopress August 1st 2012
Scientists drilling deep into the edge of modern Antarctica have pulled up proof that palm trees once grew there. Analyses of pollen and spores and the remains of tiny creatures have given a climatic picture of the early Eocene period, about 53 million years ago.
The study in Nature suggests Antarctic winter temperatures exceeded 10C, while summers may have reached 25C. Better knowledge of past “greenhouse” conditions will enhance guesses about the effects of increasing CO2 today.
The early Eocene – often referred to as the Eocene greenhouse – has been a subject of increasing interest in recent years as a “warm analogue” of the current Earth.
The early Eocene was a period of atmospheric CO2 concentrations higher than the current 390 parts per million (ppm) reaching at least 600ppm and possibly far higher. Global temperatures were on the order of 5C higher, and there was no sharp divide in temperature between the poles and the equator.
Together, the data suggest that even in the darkest period of Antarctic winter, the temperature did not drop below 10C; and summer daytime temperatures were in the 20Cs. The lowland coastal region sported palm trees, while slightly inland hills were populated with beech trees and conifers.
Dr Bendle said that as an analogue of modern Earth, the Eocene represents heightened levels of CO2 that will not be reached any time soon, and may not be reached at all if CO2
“It’s a clearer picture we get of warm analogues through geological time,” he said.
The sting in the tail…..
”The more we get that information, the more it seems that the models we’re using now are not overestimating the [climatic] change over the next few centuries, and they may be underestimating it. That’s the essential message. (BBC).-