Who will claim the “green” Antarctica?
So-called global warming is not all that climate alarmists want you to think it is. The threats of rising oceans and rapidly spreading disease that they alarmed us all with, is nothing else than their vision of the future, but not a realistic one.
One example of such unfounded alarmism is the melting of antarctic ice caps, which is happening not due to man-made warming but geothermal sources that lie beneath Antarctic Glaciers.
Regardless of whether warming is taking place or not, and most valid science says it is not, great opportunities will come about with a warmer planet. A simple and straight forward example is the greening of areas that are now fully covered with ice.
In Antarctica, the temperatures of the last decades are changing the appearance of the surface and creating spaces covered of green in the temperate territories.
Mosses, now visible in high concentrations during the austral summer months, are also the most characteristic, but there are also many lichens, some terrestrial algae, fungi, and the only two flower plants native to the continent: Antarctic grass and the Antarctic carnation.
All these species resist in lethargy the long winter and soon they are able to regrow with force in the territories that in the summer are clear of ice. “In a few years the differences are obvious,” says Juan Kratzmaier, an adventurer, photographer and tour guide with long experience in Antarctica.
A recent study by researchers at the British universities in Exeter and Cambridge, as well as the British Antarctic Survey, has quantified the vegetative growth of mosses in the islands of the Antarctic peninsula, which has accelerated in the last 50 years and has also been multiplied the territory covered by these bryophyte plants during the summer months.
The scientists took five moss samples from three different sites to analyze the changes in their growth over the last 150 years and observed that the growth rate has changed markedly since 1960.
In addition to aesthetic issues, mosses are of paramount importance in the ecosystem because, among other things, they prepare the substrate to be used by higher plants such as Antarctic grass.
Specifically, according to British researchers, mosses that previously grew less than a millimeter per year now makes it more than three millimeters. As a result, there is now between four and five times more mosses in summer than 50 years ago.
The new mosses, scientists add, form a kind of protective upper layer that then favors the conservation of the lower layers. “People rightly think Antarctica is a very cold place, but our work shows that some of its areas are green, with the potential for them to become greener,” one of the authors of the paper wrote in a statement.
The presence of green in Antarctica remains a testimonial. “However, if summers get longer and there is more and more land without ice, there is no doubt that mosses and other species can colonize more areas,” says marine biologist Marta Estrada of the Institute of Marine Sciences of Barcelona.
“This year, the ice withdrew very soon on Livingston Island. At the end of November there were free spaces,” says María José Clemente, a researcher at the University of the Balearic Islands, who was in the zone during the last Spanish campaign with the team of Jaume Flexas. “What is most noticeable is the retreat of the glaciers,” insists Kratzmaier.
The decline of perpetual ice, however, is only visible in the Antarctic peninsula and adjacent islands, the fate of most scientists and tourist cruisers.
In contrast to what happens on the continent, which remains isolated from heat, in this large portion of the earth, climate change is well documented, with annual temperatures increasing by 0.5 ° per decade, according to mainstream data.
“The peninsula is not only more northerly and temperatures are less rigorous, but it is constantly receiving a supply of wet winds essential for plants to thrive,” says Antoni Rosell, a professor at the UAB and the Institut de Ciència I Environmental Technologies (ICTA).
Although there are other areas with temperatures above zero in summer, plants will hardly grow there if they do not have water, he adds: “Antarctica is the driest continent and whatever little rain it gets it comes in the form of snow.”
Antarctica was once an ice-free and forest-covered territory, conclude the authors of Exeter and Cambridge. If the trend continues Antarctica will fall back into its previous geological appearance. It will be green and available for visiting, planting and living. This potential reality begs the question: Who will claim the “green” Antarctica?