Fifty-five million years ago, the North Pole had a panoramic beauty of the tropics! I am not quoting these lines from any fiction. The ice-clad pole was an ice-free zone then! Tropical temperatures used to prevail there, a new research reveals.
Researchers have excavated a sediment core from 400m (1,300ft) below the Arctic Ocean’s seabed. And, this evacuation has enabled the scientists to delve far back into the history of the region.
There are fossils and minerals compressed in layers, deep inside the core, the study of which can reveal the million-year-old history of the Arctic. The cylinder’s bottom end assisted researchers unveil the dramatic global event occurred about 55 million years ago – named the Palaeocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum.
Appy Sluijs, a palaeoecologist from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and the lead author on one of the papers explained,
This time period is associated with a very enhanced green house effect… Basically, it looks like the Earth released a gigantic fart of green house gases into the atmosphere – and globally the Earth warmed by about 5C (9F)… This event is already widely studied over the whole planet – but the one big exception was the Arctic Ocean.
According to what the findings reveal, ‘before 55 million years ago, the surface waters of the Arctic Ocean were ice-free and as warm as 18C (64F)… However, the sudden increase in greenhouse gasses boosted them to a balmy 24C (74F) and the waters suddenly filled with a tropical algae Apectodinium.’
But, what led the Pole to freeze? Is the prolific growth of ferns and algae linked to the fall in temperature later? To confirm this, scientists have to move further with the research.
Via: BBC News