30 Aug '13, 7pm

Antarctic moss a charming but chilling sign of warming

Antarctic moss a charming but chilling sign of warming

Peter Convey, British Antarctic Survey The world’s southernmost moss bank began growing around 1860. A fleecy clump of moss growing on the Antarctic Peninsula might not seem like much of a sight to behold, but it’s a sign of a climate in flux. The patch of Polytrichum moss, sampled in 2008 by scientists at Alexander Island’s Lazarev Bay, either did not exist or was slumbering beneath ice when the peninsula was first spotted by Russian sailors in 1820. But now it is flourishing on ice-free rock — the world’s southernmost such moss bank. The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest-warming regions in the world , with temperatures rising by one degree Fahrenheit every decade since 1950 — although that rate of warming has recently slowed. As the peninsula warms, and as its ice thaws and rainfall and snowfall becomes more common, soil organisms and simple plants are seizing on...

Full article: http://grist.org/news/antarctic-moss-a-charming-but-chill...

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