Ancient climate change meant Antarctica was once covered with palm trees
Palm trees 'grew on Antarctica'
Persistent near-tropical warmth on the Antarctic continent during the early Eocene epoch
What would Shackleton have tweeted?
United States Antarctic Program
Antarctic images by Anthony Powell
According to an article published in Nature on the first of August, East Antarctica once supported near-tropical ecosystems, with winter temperatures "warmer than 10 C [50 F]." Of course, this wasn't recent by human standards - the Eocene epoch during which these temperatures were the norm occurred about 55 to 48 million years ago. However, this finding may provide insight into how Earth's climate responds to variable levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. In addition, it allows us to imagine a world very different from the one we know: one in which palm trees flourished at latitudes that today reach summer highs of about 8 C and sink to lows of -50 C.
The first link takes visitors to a blog entry outlining some of the article's discoveries, including detailed descriptions of the ecosystem. The second leads to an article featuring an interview with one of the study's co-authors that describes both the procedures and findings. Interested parties may want to read the original Nature article itself, accessible via the third link. Bringing us into the modern era, the fourth link leads to an article reflecting on the complicated relationship between the outside world and those overwintering in Antarctica. The fifth allows visitors to explore facts and figures about the United States presence in Antarctica, featuring some great webcam feeds. Finally, the last link leads to a magnificent collection of images and videos of the now-frozen continent.