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 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.