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

    @781...and we both spelled his name wrong. It's Malcolm X, not Malcom X.

    December 21, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. welcome


    December 21, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. treasure781

    you spelled egypt wrong. no big deal. kkk are just home grown terrorist. malcolm x tried to fix his mistakes and admitted he was wrong and was killed for it. blacks and whites are both racist. in fact i have been called more racial slurs from my black family members. my white side wanted nothing to do with me. all im saying is lets teach our kids something new. there are devils in all races.

    December 21, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. treasure7ate1


    December 21, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. welcome


    December 21, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. phil

    @781...fair enough. Thank's for pointing out how I spelled Egypt. I've got a dood excuse though. The U is next to the Y on this tiny keyboard, and my eyesight isn't what it used to be. Plus my thumbs are as big as door-knob. (he-he) Not really, they are big though. You should check-out my spelling right after I trim my nails.

    December 21, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. phil@treasure 781

    Maybe MalcolmX did turn around. I never got that far looking into his activities post Nation of Islam. I'll take your word on it. Me? I'm no racist. My grandfather was though. He was in the NAVY from the time he was 17 until he retired 40 plus years later. When i was in HS, he rented me a limo to take my girlfriend to the prom. You should have seen the look on his face when he found out my date was Ruby Haley. Another time when I was in junior HS, unbeknownst to me he came to pick me up from school. He caught me tossing a football with my secret best friend Julius Farr. Keep in mind this was back in the sixties in a small town. My grandpa wanted me to be racist like he was, and this is how I know that it is an individuals choice. Later in life, I moved to Texas working in the oilfield. He hated Texans too, and struck me from his will because I refused to come back to Colorado. He died and I didn't even attend his funeral. Very sad how racism affects families. Nice meeting you treasure781(grin)

    December 21, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cesar

    @Treasure781: Dear Treasureless: Being gay is a learned behavior? Then in that case, you must be an excellent pupil. As for me, I get an "F." @Jim B: Alas I read another of your posts. I ask upon thee, where is this one God that thou mentions? Do thee truly know? My heart bleedth to know thy secret, but should thou say ,"God is everywhere," then my ears, I must confess, will run and hide.

    December 22, 2010 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. welcome


    December 22, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. treasure781

    if you get an f in gay class then why are you mad? i have never been gay. no one is born gay. gays learn how to bend over. also gay rights are not the same as civil rights. you can stop giving head but no one can stop being black. how many times have you had your 'ceasar' salad tossed?

    December 22, 2010 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. welcome

    now what

    December 22, 2010 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. treasure781

    phil your cool. i like debating with you.

    December 22, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. welcome

    must be the gay gene

    December 22, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. @ cesar

    you must be a butt pirate. dont ask dont tell

    December 22, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. shh

    cali is the new saddom and gamora

    December 22, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
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