26 Apr 2019

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New evidence reveals Arctic summers now hottest for 115,000 years

NEW YORK, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — Researchers have discovered in detail that the Arctic is experiencing the hottest temperatures in 115,000 years, according to new findings published by a recent scientific report.

Published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the report, entitled “Fast Arctic Canada Glaciers Reveals Landscapes Continuously Ice Covered for More than 40,000 Years”, has shown that summers in the Canadian Arctic wilderness have not seen temperatures warm for at least 115,000 years.

To reach that conclusion, researchers studied geographical anomalies and old ice on Canada’s Baffin Island, especially on high-plateau ice caps and deep fjords, according to news website vaaju.com.

Ice caps, unlike glaciers, do not move, and matter lying on the ground is preserved as long as the cap remains in place.

For ages, ice has occupied the plateaus and walls of Baffin Island. In some summers, there would be thaw, but in general low temperatures and snow has kept things at equilibrium.

Now, climate change has upset that equilibrium, causing the Arctic to heat up at twice the rate as the rest of the world. That’s led to more summer melt, which has exposed moss and lichen at the margins of the ice caps.

Simon Pendleton is the lead author of the report and a researcher from the University of Colorado’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. He and his team have crossed their finds with multiple sources, including ice measurements from nearby Greenland, and found that today’s Arctic summer is now hotter than anytime in 115,000-120,000 years, according to Gizmodo.com.

“Our last century of heat is likely to be greater than a few centuries over the past 120,000 years,” Pendleton said.

As ice caps recede even further, scientists could expose even more ancient landscapes. By refining their measurements, they can predict how the Arctic will look as climate change continues to reshape it.

Pendleton said even without the radiocarbon dating, a technique used to date materials such as carbon, it’s clear how rapidly Baffin Island is shifting into a new state. Each year, changes become more visible to the naked eye.

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