A massive discovery on the continent of Antarctica has totally floored scientists, and it's a sight you're going to have to see in order to believe.
It’s an astonishing and truly stunning sight you wouldn’t expect to see on the cold and barren wilderness that is Antarctica: the presence of moss on the northern peninsula. It’s the latest evidence of climate change’s effects on even the coldest and most unforgiving areas of our planet over the last few decades.
Scientists have found two different species of moss going through growth spurts, growing at a rate of 3 millimeters per year on average when in the past they grew less than a millimeter per year, according to a statement from Cell Press. The paper was published int he journal Current Biology by scientists with Cambridge University, the British Antarctic Survey, and the University of Durham.
Today, less than 1 percent of Antarctica has some form of planet life. The moss has been growing on frozen ground that thaws partially in the summer, building up a thin layer and then freezing over in the winter. The older mosses are well preserved due to the cold temperatures, making a record of changes over time that allowed scientists to study them and determine their growth rates.
“Temperature increases over roughly the past half century on the Antarctic Peninsula have had a dramatic effect on moss banks growing in the region, with rapid increases in growth rates and microbial activity,” says Dan Charman, who led the research in Exeter. “If this continues, and with increasing amounts of ice-free land from continued glacier retreat, the Antarctic Peninsula will be a much greener place in the future.”