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szdaily -> Speak Shenzhen -> 
Antarctica could go green because of climate change
    2019-04-09  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Man-made climate change could turn Antarctica green, with plants colonizing the land as ice sheets shrink, scientists have warned.

Experts believe clues about the future of the planet can be gleaned from the Pliocene period 3 million years ago, the last time carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were as high as they are today.

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached 400 parts per million (ppm) on average in 2015 for the first time since records began, World Meteorological Organization figures show.

There is likely to be a “lag” before the true effects of reaching such a threshold are felt, said Professor Martin Siegert, co-director of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College.

However, he added, looking to the Pliocene era could offer clues as to how humans might deal with the challenges this creates.

During that period, sea levels were around 15 meters higher and temperature estimated to be between 2 and 3.5 degrees Celsius warmer than now. “[If] you put your oven on at home, and set it to 200 degrees Celsius, the temperature doesn’t get to that immediately,” Siegert said. “It takes a bit of time, and it’s the same with the climate.”

Professor Dame Jane Francis, director of the British Antarctic Survey, said remnants of the forests of Antarctica have been found, which are probably dated to the Pliocene age.

“The really important significance of this is that we’ve got 400 ppm now, and if we had 400 ppm in the past, this is maybe where we are going back to,” she said. “Which is the ice sheets are going to shrink at times, not all the time but at times... which may allow plants to colonize in Antarctic land again.”

Before the industrial revolution in 1850 carbon dioxide levels were about 280 ppm, and since then the temperature has increased globally by around 1 degree Celsius, Siegert added.

“What it means is that by the end of this century, we might expect another 1 degree,” he said.

If carbon dioxide emissions continue at current rates, levels could soar to 1,000 ppm by 2100, he added. This is the same as estimated levels around 100 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and Antarctica was warmer and much greener.

Words to Learn 相關詞匯

【搜集】sōují glean gather information or material bit by bit

【游蕩】yóudàng roam travel through a wide area

科學家警告說,人為的氣候變化可能會讓南極洲“變綠”,隨著冰川消退,南極洲大陸上將會被植被覆蓋。

專家認為,地球未來演變的趨勢可以從300萬年前的上新世時期找到線索,當時地球大氣中的二氧化碳水平和現在一樣高。

世界氣象組織的數據顯示,2015年大氣中的二氧化碳平均水平達到了百萬分之400,是有記錄以來的最高水平。

帝國理工學院格蘭瑟姆研究所的聯合主任馬丁?西格特說,人們對達到這樣一個臨界點的真實后果的感知會有一個“滯后期”。

但是他補充說,人類要如何應對二氧化碳水平過高帶來的挑戰,可以從上新世時期找到線索。在這一時期,海平面上升了約15米,溫度比現在高出2到3.5攝氏度。

西格特教授說:“如果你在家里打開爐子,把溫度調到200度,不會立刻達到這一溫度。這需要一段時間,氣候也是一樣。”

英國南極觀測站的站長德蒙?簡?弗朗西斯教授說,南極洲森林遺跡已經被找到,這些森林很可能來自上新世時期。

她說:“這些森林遺跡之所以非常重要,是因為我們現在的二氧化碳水平已經達到百萬分之400,如果過去地球的二氧化碳水平也曾經達到百萬分之400,這也許就是地球將回歸的狀態。冰川時不時地會消退,不是一直消退而是偶爾消退,這可能會讓植被重新覆蓋南極洲大陸。”

西格特教授補充說,在1850年工業革命之前,二氧化碳水平約為百萬分之280,自那以后全球溫度上升了約1攝氏度。

他說:“這意味著到本世紀末,全球溫度將再上升1攝氏度。”

他還說,如果二氧化碳排放量以目前速度持續下去,到2100年,大氣中的二氧化碳水平將高達百萬分之1000。

屆時二氧化碳水平將和1億年前持平,那時候的地球恐龍橫行,南極洲比現在更溫暖,也綠得多。(Chinadaily.com.cn)

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