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Germans find evidence of Antarctic rainforest

The Local · 2 Aug 2012, 13:01

Published: 02 Aug 2012 13:01 GMT+02:00

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“We are positive that these forests must have been teeming with animals; many of the pollen grains that we found were from flowering plants that were insect-pollinated,” said palaeo-climatologist Jörg Pross.

In a study published in the current edition of science journal Nature, researchers from Pross' Goethe University and the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Frankfurt report how rock samples from drill probes off the coast of Wilkes Land, Antarctica, contained evidence that a period of intense warmness had occurred around 52 million years ago.

They first dropped a line four kilometres into the water to reach the seabed, then drilled another kilometre down into the sediment. The interval corresponding to 52 million years ago was encountered at 980 metres below the sea floor.

During that period the concentration of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere was more than double what it is today, and warmth-loving plants such as palms and the ancestors of today’s baobab trees flourished.

"It was a really bizarre feeling," said Pross, who spent two and a half months on the drill ship surrounded by icebergs, "seeing the Antarctic ice shield looming in the background - and realizing that we had travelled back 52 million years in time."

Check out pictures from the expedition

That period of warmness was primarily caused by gases from volcanoes, Pross said. But scientists hope that studying naturally-occurring climate warm periods in the geological past will help improve our knowledge of current human-induced global warming.

At this point, the future does not look too rosy.

“If the current CO2 emissions continue unabated due to the burning of fossil fuels, [high] CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere - as they existed in the distant past - are likely to be achieved within a few hundred years,” Pross said.

Northern Germany could be subtropical in a couple hundred years. But Pross said the rise in global temperature would eventually melt the polar ice caps, causing sea levels to rise.

"At that point most of Northern Germany would be underwater."

Story continues below…

But there's no need to build a boat just yet - Pross says that's likely still thousands of years away. In the meantime, climatologists stress the importance of cutting fossil fuel output to put the brakes on Antarctica becoming a sunny holiday destination.

Sarah Harman

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Your comments about this article

13:22 August 2, 2012 by n230099
Things change...welcome to Earth.
17:12 August 2, 2012 by zeddriver

Oh but your so wrong. "sarcasm intended" The global warming religion says that the earth as it was when they first looked at the earths climate 30 or so years ago. Is how it should always be and that it was always so. after all. humans weren't on the scene yet. So it's just not possible that the earth could have been warmer than now.

Not that we shouldn't strive to be good stewards of the earth.

I just don't trust the Marxist elitist's types that make up the lions share of the environmentalist movement. Because in the end. That group always comes to the conclusion that to cure the problem you must be under their leadership with no questions asked.
22:13 August 2, 2012 by mstar
I disagree. Those that support current climate changes as caused by burning of fossil fuels understand the Earth's climate changes over its history. Nor are supporters Marxists or elitists or sheep.

Instead, check the data and ask those questions...when did the industrial revol commence? When did the world's human population boom? When did the CO2 concentration start increasing sharply? Oh! All at the same time. Hm.
08:31 August 3, 2012 by McM
Er! Not wishing to be provocative but during the Earth's 4.5 billion years of existence 80 % of this time the climate has been far hotter than todays temperature and changes between each interglacial period from cool to warm. Most major drivers are plate movement,sun and orbit related. The micro factors such as mans contribution although evident on minuscule time scales are somewhat sensationalized for various political or social agendas. God bless the vested interests of instant coffee value systems but I suspect with or without mans contribution the macro drivers will continue to change our climate with or without our by products or the polpular vilification of base elements. Our climate always changes,always has and always will until the sun engulfs it a few billon years down the road. We can attempt to modifify our behavior whilst we are privileged to share a few atoms with our fellow environmental users but less short term drama and more long term reflection and acceptance of the regulars endless changes to our planet may be more beneficial to our finite period on earth.
15:35 August 3, 2012 by endrsgm
wow. no wonder those dinosaurs are extinct. for that much co2 to be the atmosphere surely they must have been driving cars!

or could it be something else.

¦quot;I¦#39;ve just completed Mike¦#39;s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith¦#39;s to hide the decline.¦quot; Phil Jones (Climatic Research Unit)


temps previous to the 1850s are based on tree ring samples. after 1850 on thermometers. the problem is that the temps after 1850 in the tree ring samples do NOT match the thermometers. this is the basis of the famous "hide the decline" remark. in itself this would not be such a big deal except that everything "we know" prior to 1850 about temperatures is based on information we know to be wrong. so everything prior to 1850 is computer modeled on faulty data and can, at best, be called a "wild ass guess". the ipcc report (un report on climate change) was based on these tree samples.


three different tree ring sample groups showed three different results. one trends downward in mid 20th century (biffa), one dropped in the 1980s (jones), while one (manns) flatlined about the same time. so one part of mikes "trick" was to cut the dates off on each before the flat line or decline so it appears all three are going up on a graph (but then not noting such on the graph). hidden in the ipcc source code was the other half of the trick, a programmer inserted in ¦quot;Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!" to hide the fact that two were actually going down and the third was flatlining.


keep in mind that the tree ring samples dont agree with the real temperatures recorded and disagree even less with the "massaged" temperature readings kept. the "real" temperatures are auto corrected by .5 farenheit by the computer each. in fact, when questioned about this it was amazing how many of the climate research centers had "lost" the un-massaged data and only had the massaged data. further, less than 10% of the 75% of weather data centers investigated even matched the guidelines for placement. most were wrong by more than 2C due to being near artificial heating sources.


emails were found between mann and others involved, including the Climate Research Centre in the article colluding to hide the medieval warm period in their graphs and statistics.
18:59 August 3, 2012 by ron1amr
Its amazing to see the Antarctic thriving with a tropical forrest. In these time humans did not exist. Humans could not live in these times we came a lot later.

Rainfall since data has been collected is decreasing each year since possibly the industrial revolution.

Soon Countries will run out of potable water. Nasa has predicted this by 2013/ 2015.

It was in the nineties that saw trees no longer strong enough to withstand an avalanche prompting man made supports.

Trees in Canada have been dying as the warming weather means wood borers survive the warmer winters.

Scientists are pretty well on the ball when it comes to their study Journals.
00:34 August 4, 2012 by endrsgm
that isnt correct about the potable water. the relevant un study is here --> ftp://ftp.fao.org/agl/aglw/docs/wr23e.pdf

page 31 and 32 offer conclusions. certain areas are using up almost 100% of renewable water now. 33 countries need more water than they can produce. 6 countries have the bulk of the worlds water. but overall, its not in a bad situation and isnt really getting worse.

nasa isnt really a reputable source anymore. they bought into the climate change as a way to keep funding now that they are uninterested in space missions. in fact, nasa's mission statement now is also to make muslims feel good about their culture. that says quite a bit about their scientific objectivity sacrificed for political correctness.
16:38 August 4, 2012 by Vpsys2000
Global warming is a globalist lie. Stalin had his uselful idiots and Hitler his useless eaters. The globalists now have they're useless breathers in the form of the global warming believers.

The documented increase in CO2 levels is equal to the width of a pencil on a soccer pitch and they want to deindustrialize west for that.

If the gobalist so wanted they could reduce CO2 emissions equal to the yearly output of the US by simply putting out the underground coals burning in India and china..
16:49 August 4, 2012 by B Forrest
Must have been all those cavemen driving SUVs
00:27 August 7, 2012 by zeddriver
One must also consider where the temps have been recorded over the last 150 years. I.E. Most modern ones are at the airports. Lots of jets, Pavement, Glass buildings. 150 years ago? In a grassy field out of direct sunlight. Roads were dirt, Most buildings were wood or natural stone with very little glass.

10:18 August 7, 2012 by LecteurX
Oh dear... what a bunch of moronic comments. Yes, 52 million years ago. Since then, continents have moved a lot from where they were located. The Antarctic was certainly not so far south. There was more CO2 in the atmosphere than now because of volcanic activity? Oh, but certainly. The Earth has been through much worse than that, and will again. Does that mean that this makes a planet livable for 7+ billion humans? Errrr... not sure.

The Earth's climate always changed in the past, and it will continue to do so, man-made or not. Even if we razed the Amazon forest to the ground to make way for roads and mega soy-plantations and palm oil, with all the resulting loss of biodiversity, the Earth, and life it supports, would eventually recover. But certainly without Humans, who would die out rather quickly in the process.

It's about preserving a planet that is livable of us humans.

Who could possibly oppose that?

Oh, and anyway, I'm sure these commenters above can't comprehend a time-scale of 52 million years (see B Forrest mentioning "cavemen"... LOL). After all, most science-denying nutjobs believe the Earth is just over 6,000 years, right?
17:36 August 7, 2012 by franconia
Hey treehuggers !! What was the temperature 300, 3000, 30000 years ago? Like now? Freezing? Hotter? You tell me !!!
15:31 August 18, 2012 by Bruno53
Don't pay attention to this guy "franconia". He is a "creationist" idiot.
15:29 August 25, 2012 by lenny van
It is certain that the appearance of the Big Bang resulted because nothing exploded. That has led every intelligent person to understand the existence of a material world had to be a product of evolution. It is so absurd to believe that something has to exist before it can evolve, which is why only creation idiots believe that something has to exist before can evolve. As Richard Branson and many other intelligent homo sapiens have said recently, they are not "believers" because they believe in evolution. They all believe that things can envolve before they exist. How people in the 21st century can believe in creation, when we have seen how architects and engineers make computer simulations before they actually build something is beyond me. Perhaps they believe that God's brain is a powerful computer and that he "created" the cause and effect processes described produced smart apes after the melting of the last ice age and what he created had the effects of the simulations virtual history attached. What idiots. and they say we, who believe in evolution are crazy simply because it is illogical (in their minds) to believe that something cannot create itself. There is no reason why a material substance evolve into matter and it is ridiculous to believe that something non-material in some spooky spiritual world would have had to create it?
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