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Invasive species threaten Antarctica; climate change and visitors boom blamed

Wednesday, March 7th 2012 - 16:55 UTC
Full article 7 comments

Antarctic tourists and scientists may be inadvertently seeding the icy continent with invasive species, a new study says. Foreign plants such as annual bluegrass are establishing themselves on Antarctica, whose status as the coldest and driest continent had long made it one of the most pristine environments on Earth. Read full article


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  • GreekYoghurt

    I didn't know Argentinians are classed as an Invasive species. But it all makes sense, they do love invading.

    Mar 07th, 2012 - 05:57 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DennisA

    Is there no article that can be published without the oblifgatory reference to global warming?

    “The results revealed more than 2,600 seeds and other detachable plant structures, or propagules, had hitched a ride to Antarctica on these visitors.” They have the answer, where is global warming in all this?

    Mar 08th, 2012 - 09:59 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • RedBaron

    Dennis- The links with global warming are that, as the Antarctic climate is moderated, the tourist season can be extended and some inaccessible areas may now become more accessible.
    In addition, once invasive species and seeds have been brought into the Antarctic, they will have more chance to grow in a longer and milder growing season.

    Mar 08th, 2012 - 10:55 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Rufus

    @2 Dennis

    I recall an article about 7ft killer penguins that lived in prehistoric Peru. I don't recall that having a GW mention.
    As RedBaron points out, Antarctia is pretty inhospitable for plants (and everything else for that matter), but as the temperature rises then the overwhelming probability of any plant that tries to grow there dying is reduced slightly.

    Mar 08th, 2012 - 12:10 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GreekYoghurt

    I still think it's rude to refer to Argentinians as an invasive species. Even though technically they are.

    Mar 08th, 2012 - 12:23 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DennisA

    But the temperature in Antarctica is not rising. IPCC in their 2007 report clearly states “Antarctic sea ice extent continues to show inter-annual variability and localized changes but no statistically significant average trends, consistent with the lack of warming reflected in atmospheric temperatures averaged across the region”
    “Current global model studies project that the Antarctic ice sheet will remain too cold for widespread surface melting and is expected to gain in mass due to increased snowfall.”
    BAS Press Release no.4/2005 23 Feb 2005
    ”The retreat of Antarctic ice shelves is not new according to research
    published in the journal Geology by scientists from Universities of Durham, Edinburgh and British Antarctic Survey (BAS). A study of George VI Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula is the first to show
    that this currently ‘healthy’ ice shelf experienced an extensive retreat about 9500 years ago, more than anything seen in recent years. The retreat coincided with a shift in ocean currents that occurred after a long period of warmth.“
    Holocene Climate Changes Recorded in an East Antarctica Ice Core. NATO Advanced Research Series I, Volume 41, 263-279.
    ”A new history of oxygen isotopic ratios (18O) and atmospheric dust concentrations from central East Antarctica suggests that the high inland plateau has been dominated by a cooling trend for the last 4000 years. Superimposed upon this isotopically-inferred cooling were a number of warmer events, the largest and most persistent of which occurred 3600 yr.B.P, (before present), and lasted several centuries.”

    Take away: Antarctica is not warming up.

    Mar 08th, 2012 - 05:15 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Monty69

    Oh dear.
    That's not much of an argument is it.
    ''The climate is naturally variable and therefore....'' Well what? You appear to be offering up the fact that it was really rather warm in 3600 BP as proof that....well, something.

    So are you saying that Antarctica is not warming up? Or that it is and that this is entirely natural? Or both?

    Either way, you're completely missing the point. The issue is not whether climates around the world are changing rapidly ( they are), but how much of this is due to human influence.
    You're entitled to your opinion about that.

    Mar 11th, 2012 - 12:32 am - Link - Report abuse 0

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