Australian Research Finds Rising Temperatures More Damaging to Antarctica Than Ice Age
By Reissa Su | March 11, 2014 4:57 PM EST
Adelie penguins walk on the ice at Cape Denison in Antarctica, in this December 12, 2009 file photo. REUTERS
Researchers have been studying animal and plant survey data in the Antarctic to separate the areas known as the hotspots of species diversity. Australian National University's Dr Ceridwin Fraser said that their findings have revealed more Antarctic species were living around volcanoes.
According to Dr Fraser, lichens, mosses and invertebrates make up most of Antarctica's biodiversity. Since volcanoes are free from ice, these species tend to thrive there. She said volcanoes serve as the hotbed for Antarctic species during long periods of cold weather.
British Antarctic Survey's Professor Peter Convey said 60 per cent of invertebrate species in the Antarctic are unique to the region because of their conditions. Professor Convey said these species are not new to the continent since scientists believe they have been thriving in the Antarctic for millions of years.
The findings of the research also gave scientists a clue to what will happen in the region amid increasing global temperatures. Dr Fraser said the warmer areas of the Antarctic can support more life.
As global warming continues, the ice will melt in Antarctica which leads to the shrinking of ice-free space. More warm areas would mean more species thriving including visiting humans.
Researchers believe that a rapid global warming is more of a threat to Antarctica than the millennia of ice ages. Professor Steven Crown from the Monash University said the findings of the study can also serve as a guide to strengthen conservation efforts in Antarctica.
On the other side battling the same problem of climate change, rising global temperatures continue to thaw ice as scientists have observed that the Arctic is no longer as white and bright like before. Chunks of ice have melted into the ocean. A new study revealed less of the sun's heat will reflect into space because of the Arctic's dark and open water in the summer.
According to the latest study published in the National Academy of Sciences, the Earth may be absorbing more heat than expected which contributes to global warming and rising sea levels.
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