Parts of the Arctic are currently warmer than at any time going as far back as 44.000 years...
Ancient Polytrichum mosses that have been trapped under the ice for thousands of years on Baffin Island in northern Canada are becoming exposed due to the warming temperatures that is melting the ice.
Since the moss samples would have been destroyed by erosion had they been previously exposed, the authors of a new study suggest that the temperatures in the Arctic now must be warmer than during any sustained period since the mosses were originally buried.
Scientists from the University of Colorado then radiocarbon dated these ancient moss and found that most of the samples date from the past 5,000 years, when a period of strong cooling took place in the Arctic. However, the team also found much older samples that ranged in age from 24,000 to 44,000 years old.
Based on this information, the records suggest that in general, the eastern Canadian Arctic is warmer now than in any century in the past 5000 years, and in some places, modern temperatures are unprecedented in at least the past 44,000 years. The observations, the authors suggest, show that modern Arctic warming far exceeds the bounds of historical natural variability. (from the Geophysical Research Letters)
Key excerpts from the Geophysical Research Letters press release.
“Our findings add additional evidence to the growing consensus that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases have now resulted in unprecedented recent summer warmth that is well outside the range of that attributable to natural climate variability," said Gifford Miller of the University of Colorado.
Miller also states that this is the first direct evidence that present summer warmth in the Eastern Canadian Arctic now exceeds the peak warmth there in the Early Holocene era.
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