Mummified Arctic forest could yield clues to global warming
December 21st, 2010
08:10 AM ET

Mummified Arctic forest could yield clues to global warming

A mummified ancient forest unearthed north of the Arctic Circle may give researchers clues about what to expect as climate change again affects the polar region.

Joel Barker, a researcher at The Ohio State University, stumbled on the forest's remnants while camping last year on Canada's Ellesmere Island, just 500 miles from the North Pole.

The forest stood more than 1,000 miles north of the northernmost trees of today.

See a map of the Arctic.

The trees and their branches, leaves, needles and roots were perfectly preserved from when they were buried in an avalanche 2 million to 8 million years ago, when the Arctic climate was getting colder, according to Canada's CBC News.

"Mummified forests aren't so uncommon, but what makes this one unique is that it's so far north. When the climate began to cool 11 million years ago, these plants would have been the first to feel the effects," Barker said in an OSU news release.

"And because the trees' organic material is preserved, we can get a high-resolution view of how quickly the climate changed and how the plants responded to that change."

He presented his findings Friday at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.

Barker next plans to study tree rings to learn how past climate conditions stressed plant life and predict how the Arctic ecosystem will respond to global warming.

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Filed under: Canada • Climate change • Environment • Science
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. phil

    See? Global warming isn't all that bad. Without it, we may have never discovered this ancient forrest. One day this old forrest will bloom with life anew. I hope I live long enough to see it. Imagine Mrs. Santa Claus picking fresh flowers as Santa's elves change a flat tire on his sled.

    December 21, 2010 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Beware the velocaraptors, they hunt in packs and yes, their eyesight is not based on movement.

      December 21, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • keith

      see what them cave men did driveing them suvs

      February 14, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar

    They fail to mention where Adam and Eve fit in, but logically God made those forests first, then the Dinasaurs. God then "made man in our image." Then came Adam and Eve, but the devil ruined everything with Global Warming being caused by mankind; one of our by-products.

    December 21, 2010 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Did you know a cow will produce more harmful emissions than your little pinto of a ride? Simple solution to global warming....EAT MORE MEAT!

      December 21, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Yep

      Lol, what an idiot!

      December 21, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. phil

    @Cesar...sorta. According to the bible, on the first "day", God created the universe. (he obviously spent more than 24 hrs. doing this) Then he spent another six "days" preparing the earth for man to inhabit, and he created Adam. The idea that God created everything in just seven literal days is absurd, and is a lie not found in the bible but found coming out of the mouth's of religious leaders. No wonder people have a hard time believing in God. Even the non-believers take some priest's or preachers word for it, never checking it out for themselves. (i'm no christian. just an old man who reads a lot)

    December 21, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Just like the bible tells us that we should stone our children to death if they misbehave! Gimme a rock!

      December 21, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • pazi

      Where does it say that day 'then' was more than 24 hours? So what was the purpose of dinosaurus anyway?

      December 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ProtoMan

    @Cesar: Adam and Eve are not literal people. They are metaphors for man and woman. The snake in the garden was a lying deceiver much like Bill OReilly or Olberman. The forbidden fruit is a lie. Its actually a pretty sound moral to teach people. Look at all the trouble caused by lies. Shows like Jerry Springer or Cheaters are meant to breed mistrust between men and women. You've never seen the earth as a garden before?

    December 21, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Hey! Jerry SPringer is a classic piece of our culture. Do not mock Jerry, for he has gone where no man has gone before...he has shown the world what trailer trash really is!

      December 21, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. ProtoMan

    I would agree with phil. Most problems that come from "God" are due to people believing what someone else tells them what God wants. Like Jim Breiske telling people that God wants murderers and gays to die slow painful deaths. A kind, just, and forgiving creator wants gays to die slowly? It never adds up. Islam has so many problems because they have strayed from their belief that no man can interpret god for the believer only the Koran is truth. Well the Koran was written by man and is taught by man to other man. When you start listening to priests or imams over common sense then you're asking for trouble.

    December 21, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Do you also believe that earthquakes are caused in regions where women flaunt and show their chests?

      December 21, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. phil

    @Protoman...hmmm, are you Jewish? Because I've studied the bible for years and do not recall Jesus saying Adam was a metaphore. In fact Jesus lineage is recorded for us at the end of Luke ch. 3. Every single one of Jesus ancestors are named from Adam to Joseph. If Adam and Eve were truly metaphores, Luke's account would then be nothing more than a list of made-up names.

    December 21, 2010 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      @ Protoman
      Please enlighten me as to what happened to the other few hundred commandments that were brought down the mountain to man? Apparently bible thumpers have a limited mind and can only retain 10?! Typical, you even bend and twist your own cults original manifesto so that it can fit your limited thinking. Sad, really sad.

      December 21, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. ProtoMan

    I'm just a believer in God. I don't believe everything the bible says because someone with a bit of intelligence can see the hypocrisy. Let's say Adam and Eve are real individuals: does that take away from the snake/liar moral any? Should a man and wife always put faith and trust into each other despite the snakes in life? Whether it was a true story or not the message is the same. I always hear atheists make fun of the story like a real talking snake gave out apples to people. Often in literature the snake or dragon is used to represent deception. Dragons breathing fire could just be the same as a liar blowing hot air. Everything shakespear was written with similes and metaphors. If you don't understand them you'll never understand shakespear.

    December 21, 2010 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  8. Richard in Texas

    How in the world did this turn into a religeous discussion? Beside he is a scientist so he is probably wrong anyways. Right tinfoil hat people?

    December 21, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  9. phil

    @Protoman...hypocricy in the bible? Please, if you would be so kind, give us an example of biblical hypocricy. (hey, enjoyed the "Iraq" thread we had going the other night btw. we must do it again sometime)

    December 21, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. ProtoMan

    @Richard: every issue on here gets turned into a religious discussion, race debate, or partisan smear attempt. I was just addressing cesar's comment. I'm actually in school for biochemistry. I can accept science and religion equally. An all knowing creator would have knowledge of math and science too right? I'm not debating anything in the article just what was commented on here.

    December 21, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. ProtoMan

    @phil: the 10 commandments clearly condone slavery while at the same time Moses claimed that he was freeing the israelites from slavery. Are only the israelites not supposed to be free? That's one.

    December 21, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. ProtoMan

    @phil: the 10 commandments clearly condone slavery while at the same time Moses claimed that he was freeing the israelites from slavery. Are only the israelites supposed to be free? That's one.

    December 21, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      ProtoMan, how's life as a cannibal? Hows that blood and flesh taste? Your religion disgusts me. Not only do you condone the killing of children in your scripture, but you also eat flesh and blood every week?! And to top it off, you even let pedophiles lead your congregations every week while the cults highest leader turns a blind eye to it all. Hows that kool-aid taste now?

      December 21, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. ProtoMan

    You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. So owning slaves is ok then right? What about the whole not worshiping anything of this earth? Are people who pray to Mary or Jesus committing blasphemy?

    December 21, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. ProtoMan

    Hey Sutler: If you're talking to me you're barking up the wrong tree. I could have gone my whole life without seeing toothless inbred trailer swine and ghetto trash. Can you bring back phil now? You're multiple personalities are giving me a headache. I can only discuss things with phil. Where is he hiding?

    December 21, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Did you forget to take your meds again?!

      December 21, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  15. ProtoMan

    Are you capable of reading? I said I wasn't Christian. How are they my people? Lol. Go back to school and brush up on your critical thinking skills. I'm pointing out the good and the bad within religion. Some of it makes sense while some of it does not.

    December 21, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
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