Glaciers in the Canadian Arctic have melted and brought into focus an unseen world of vegetation whose age could be nearly 40,000 years or more. This is as per recent research. Whether we like it or not, the world is heating up and glaciers are melting due to Global warming and exposing what lies hidden beneath the ice cover. The research suggests that the Arctic is in the grip of the warmest century in at least 115,000 years.

CNN reports that the University of Colorado Boulder conducted the study. Simon Pendleton is the lead author and scientists selected a wide variety of vegetation like mosses and lichens from the exposed areas in Canada's baffin island. These lost their cover when the ice caps retreated during summers from 2010 to 2015. Radiocarbon dating of these samples revealed their age as being at least 40,000 years.

Samples indicate severity of the problem

It is interesting to note that the plants were near the Penny Ice Cap region. They were at elevations ranging from a few hundred meters to a mile above sea level, mostly among boulders, bedrock and tundra vegetation.

The point to note is the exposure of areas due to ice melting at altitudes of a mile. This is because of global warming and it will not be right to overlook the problem, but humanity needs to accept its severity and find suitable remedies.

The plants recovered belong to the same species as those that still thrive in the area. However, it paints a very gloomy picture of the future because the trend will continue and a time might come when the island will be devoid of ice.

The discovery is exciting

According to Mother Nature Network, the discovery of thousands of years-old mosses and lichens by researchers from the University of Colorado is a milestone. They have used radiocarbon dating to assess the age. This will help to understand the effects of global warming. Incidentally, both glaciers and ice caps melt but there is a difference. The former slide along the bedrock and destroy anything beneath it but ice caps remain stable for long periods, thereby, any matter trapped beneath them remains even when the ice melts.

This matter transforms into a vast frozen time capsule. The study conducted field campaigns from 2013 to 2015 and suggests that the island, the fifth largest in the world, could lose its ice cover within a few centuries. Additionally, there are fears of sea level rise from the melting of Greenland ice and Baffin Island is in its path.

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