The Arctic was once lush and green. New research says that could happen again


A new study suggests that the Arctic was once lush and green, and may eventually return to this state as the region continues to warm from climate change. According to research out of the University of Colorado Boulder, the Arctic was covered with vegetation and woody shrubs as far north as the Canadian coast about 125,000 years ago. The study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at plant DNA from lake sediment that was from the last interglacial period in the Arctic. In the lake sediment, which was more than 100,000 years old, researchers found evidence of a native Canadian shrub 400 kilometres farther north than previously recorded. Since the Arctic warms much faster in response to climate change than anywhere else on Earth, the study’s authors suggest their findings may “not only be a glimpse of the past, but a snapshot of our potential future.”

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