Via Science News:
A group of German scientists has discovered that the coast of Antarctica was once a tropical paradise:
An international team led by scientists from the Goethe University and the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre in Frankfurt, Germany, has discovered an intense warming phase around 52 million years ago in drill cores obtained from the seafloor near Antarctica — a region that is especially important in climate research. The study published in the journal Nature shows that tropical vegetation, including palms and relatives of today’s tropical Baobab trees, was growing on the coast of Antarctica 52 million years ago. These results highlight the extreme contrast between modern and past climatic conditions on Antarctica and the extent of global warmth during periods of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
Atmospheric CO2 levels were significantly higher then, about double what they are today. The scientists say that if CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels continue at their current rate, they’ll match past conditions in a few hundred years.
Read more at Science News.