Life in Newburgh on Ythan

By Talpa

Once upon a time ....

Today, something to take your minds off the circus in Westminster.

Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his companions reached the South Pole in  the South Pole in January 1912. The five-man party died in March 1912 on the return journey, 11 miles short of a supply depot. Their frozen bodies were discovered in their tent eight months later, lying together with 16kg of fossils, a meteorological log, copious notes, and rolls of film.

The fossils included specimens of Glossopteris an extinct species of fern.The fossil slab in today's blip is covered in the leaves of Glossopteris. Given the current climate of Antarctica it might come as something of a surprise that the continent once supported ferns, and indeed trees.

Using sedimentary records and plant fossils, researchers have  recently  calculated that temperatures near the South Pole in the Pliocene epoch, from 5.3m to 2.6m years ago, were much higher than they are now. . 

Trees growing near the South Pole, sea levels 20 metres higher than now, and global winter temperatures 3C-4C warmer. That is the world scientists are now uncovering as they look back in time using sedimentary records and plant fossils to when our planet last had as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as it does today. We should be worried, very worried indeed. 

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