Arctic Was Forested And Much Warmer 53 Million Years Ago

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I thought the planet today was warm – too warm, we keep hearing. Well the Arctic was a heck of a lot warmer 53 million years ago. Today’s climate by comparison is downright frigid.

The Bild der Wissenschaft reports on a paper appearing in the Proceedings of the Royal Society here that shows the Arctic was covered with forests.

The Arctic appears to have been forested 53 million years ago, along with rich plant and animal diversity. According to the paper, conditions were similar to the southeastern North America, with climate conditions like Central Europe’s today. Scientists from the University of Birmingham discovered this by analysing rock layers of the Stenkul fjord on the Canadian island of Ellesmere and the pollen, fungus spores and fossils of animals they contained.

According to Bild der Wissenschaft, the average annual temperature was a relatively balmy 8 to 15 egrees Celsius back then, with summertime temperatures climbing above 20°C. In the wintertime the temperatures were around the freezing point, similar to what we have today in Europe and southern North America today.

The scientists were surprised by the diversity of plants and that they were found so far north during the warm periods.

Now that’s real global warming – and not the 0.7°C we have had over the last 150 years.

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9 responses to “Arctic Was Forested And Much Warmer 53 Million Years Ago”

  1. R. de Haan

    We don’t have to go back 53 million years in time to come to such a conclusion.
    We only have to go back to the times of the Norse settlements on Greenland to know it was much warmer during the Medieval warmth period allowing Viking Settlements to thrive. This ended abruptly when temperatures dropped and the Little Ice Age began. We’re talking about a time span of 1.600 years here.
    http://victorian.fortunecity.com/finsbury/273/vanished/Viking.htm

    In fact between 450.000 and 850.000 years ago Greenland was covered with forests.
    http://www.itwire.com/science-news/climate/13352-ancient-dna-finds-greenlands-past-a-land-of-trees-and-butterflies

    It’s nice to have a report about the Arctic conditions 53 million years ago but I think a much stronger point is made by what happened 1600 years ago.

    This is historic evidence staring us in the face.

    Another interesting claim was made in the news last week.

    In the EU CO2 emissions are on the rise. Responsible was the harsh winter which boosted energy demand.

    Three conclusions can be drawn from this claim.

    1. It opposes the claim of Global Warming
    2. The cold weather increases our demand for fossil fuels
    3. Wind farms and solar don’t deliver

    It’s time people wake p to the climate BS and put the entire green spending on a hold.

    We need safe thorium reactors to secure our long term base load electricity needs.
    We must use our gas reserves for gas to liquid production generating sulfa free diesel to fuel our distribution systems and coal to liquid to produce gasoline.

    We only have to wait for the upcoming war with Iran and Saudi Arabia to see oil hike to price levels of 300 or even 500 USD to know what we have to do to secure our economies and our way of life.

    Hopefully our political elite’s will act. If not they will be chased out of town, tarred and feathered.

    1. DirkH

      Saudi will not help Iran. Sunnits don’t help Shia.

      1. DJL

        I think he meant between the Saudi’s and Iran

  2. DirkH

    Connie Heedegard and the IEA: A little alarm.
    The world has just five years to avoid being trapped in a scenario of perilous climate change and extreme weather events. They happily conflate global warming, climate change and extreme weather events to make CAGW more unfalsifiable. Sometimes I wonder whether they really believe their crappy computer models. Can they be that deluded? It was very foggy today. Extremely so. CO2?
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hqnQDTi-Y3EIn2siPWUpaO0UBPnA?docId=CNG.83836e5f1645ca4f109734aee0b1e702.1b1

  3. Ed Caryl

    Back to the subject. Did you know that the arctic is still forested? Oh yes! It’s just that the forest is only a few inches tall. Arctic Willows grow all around the tundra areas of Greenland, and Birch still grows in some areas. In sheltered areas as far north as Baffin Island, Willow will grew to a meter high. When the Vikings arrived in Western Greenland, they found Birch forests 5 and 6 meters tall. The promptly cut them for building material and fuel. At Thule AFB, in 1962-63, I found Willows growing among the rocks. The “trunks” would be as large as 2cm, and the hight would match the rocks.

  4. John F. Hultquist

    I tried yesterday to comment but it wasn’t accepted. Trying again:

    There is reasoned material that suggests the world is quite different now than prior to the closing of the Isthmus of Panama roughly 3M years ago. With a different surface configuration, why should climates not differ also?
    http://www.whoi.edu/cms/files/dfino/2005/4/v42n2-haug_2272.pdf
    “How the Isthmus of Panama Put Ice in the Arctic
    Drifting continents open and close gateways between oceans and shift Earth’s climate”
    ———————————-
    As others have stated, there is no need to go back so far in time. Have a look at this report:
    http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic29-1-38.pdf
    Historical Aspects of the Northern Canadian Treeline
    by Harvey Nichols
    ———————————-
    Both of these deserve the time reading them.

  5. Chris Hemmings

    Yes the world was warmer, CO2 levels were higher and so were sea levels all those years ago. With today’s North Pole a large, brackish lake, profoundly full of Azolla – http://www.uu.nl/faculty/science/en/organisation/depts/biology/research/chairs/biomarinesciences/people/judithbarke/Pages/default.aspx – you would expect Northern Canadian mainland to be forested.

    Noone can now determine how fast we might return to such conditions from our current starting point. I’m not sold on the idea of climate catastrophe, feeling that nature buffers change if at all possible. The Gaiea principle, I guess, aka Lovelock thinking. However we have undoubtedly tipped the balance in the direction of all the above most of which are great. Except the dramatic sea level rise which has to happen now. Only question is, as I say, how long the flooding will take.

    Doggerland, the huge land mass which joined the UK to mainland Europe for 30000 years or so up until around 8000 years ago – linking Yorkshire, East Anglia and Kent to Denmark, Holland, Belgium and France – was finally submerged, it seems, when an enormous ice sheet plunged into the sea from the Scandanavian mainland, creating a cataclysmic tsunami.

    At present the Greenland Ice Sheets are being underwashed by ever increasing amounts of meltwater…………………..

    1. Ed Caryl

      Greenland is a huge bowl, cut by the occasional fjord. Any under washing takes place only under the outflow glaciers, many of which have receded above the tide line. There can be no “ice sheet plunging into the sea” from Greenland.

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