ForexTV NewsDesk | June 19 2012 12:05 EDT
ForexTV.com (New York) by Conor Kelly
A recent study published by University of Southern California researchers suggests that Antarctica featured drastically different conditions in its past—particularly during the Miocene Era. The study, conducted with the purpose of predicting conditions following further climate change, found that global temperature changes in the past have drastically altered the climates of the poles.
By drilling into the crust beneath Antarctic ice sheets, the scientists were able to analyze waxed leaf fossils, suggesting that the climate allowed for vegetation. Past experiments have reached difficulties using this technique, as shifting ice sheets destroy fossils. However, Sarah J. Feakins, leader of the study, was tipped off by pollen samples that suggested hints of plant life.
By looking at hydrogen isotopes present in the plant matter, the team was able to determine air and water conditions during the plant’s life. In a paper published in Nature Geoscience, the researchers reported hotter and wetter conditions in Antarctica’s past than were previously believed.
The research has been used by many to claim evidence that global warming is part of a natural phenomenon involving cyclic climate change. Carbon monoxide readings during the Miocene Era fall somewhere between 400 and 600 parts per million (ppm). Readings today are steadily reaching 393 ppm, one of the highest readings in several million years, a trend geologists say match with this period in Earth’s history.
USC researchers suggest that at the current rate, global temperatures will reach Miocene Era levels by the end of this century.
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