"Flourishing Plants Show Warming Antarctica Undergoing ‘Major Change’"

"Dramatic spread of native plants over past decade is evidence of accelerating shifts in fragile polar ecosystem, study finds"

"Antarctica’s two native flowering plants are spreading rapidly as temperatures warm, according to the first study to show changes in fragile polar ecosystems have accelerated in the past decade.

The increase in plants since 2009 has been greater than the previous 50 years combined, coinciding with rapidly rising air temperatures and a reduction in the number of fur seals, according to researchers working on Signy Island in the South Orkney Islands.

Populations of Antarctic hairgrass (Deschampsia antarctica) and Antarctic pearlwort (Colobanthus quitensis) have been studied by scientists on the island since 1960. Research found hairgrass spread five times faster between 2009 and 2018 than between 1960 and 2009. For pearlwort, the increase was almost ten times more, according to the paper.

In the past decade, summer warming has increased from +0.02C to +0.27C each year, despite strong cooling recorded in 2012."

Phoebe Weston reports for the Guardian February 14, 2022.

Source: Guardian, 02/16/2022