Geography

The Antarctic Peninsula has warmed by 3°C over the past 50 years, making it one of the most rapidly warming parts of the globe. However, meteorological data has only been recorded there since the 1950s, so our knowledge of the longer term context of this temperature rise is limited. To address this, we are developing records of past climate stretching back 5000 years from slow growing moss banks.

About the project

*BREAKING NEWS* !!  We have just published our first journal article from this project in Current Biology entitled 'Plants and soil microbes respond to recent warming on the Antarctic Peninsula'.  Please see the Outreach page for more information.

You might expect a research project studying Antarctica’s past climate to be using ice cores, some over 4 km thick and hundreds of thousands of years old. But in the warmer (by Antarctic standards!), more vegetated Antarctic Peninsula there is another archive of past climate just waiting to be investigated. Banks of moss have been accumulating on islands to the west of the peninsula for thousands of years and it is these we are studying to put the changing climate of one of the most rapidly warming parts of the planet into a longer-term context.

Please explore this website to find out more about our project. You will find information on the background to the project and where the research is based, the people involved and the methods we are using.  If there is something specific you would like to know about but can’t find information on, please contact us to ask.

In January and February 2013 two members of the project team (Jessica and Matt) went south to Antarctica to undertake a second season of fieldwork for the project. They blogged about their experiences and you can follow their progress through this website or by subscribing directly to the RSS feed of the blog, which will be updated throughout the project.

The project is a collaboration between the University of Exeter, University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey.  The UK Natural Environment Research Council are funding this work from 2012 – 2014 (grant number AFI 11_05). We gratefully acknowledge their support in making this research happen.

Please contact us if you have any questions about the research. Emails can be sent to Dr Matt Amesbury in the first instance (m.j.amesbury@exeter.ac.uk) and will be directed to other team members as appropriate.