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Showing posts from March, 2011

Sub-Antarctic exposure

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In 2010, I was fortunate to be involved in an exciting piece of research led by Matt McGlone at Landcare Research in New Zealand. Published in Nature Geoscience, we reported a long-term record of vegetation and climate change on a sub-Antarctic island known as Campbell. Located at the far southern end of the Pacific, Campbell Island sits at an impressive 52˚S, entirely surrounded by ocean. By looking back through the ancient peat sediments on the island, we found large changes in the different types of preserved pollen grains over the past 18,000 years. It all pointed to big swings in vegetation across the island. Fortunately, because the vegetation is very sensitive to summer conditions, we were able to get a handle on temperatures in the past. Fascinatingly, the island temperatures didn’t appear to track those recorded by ocean cores from the region. 
Previous work on temperature records from this part of the Southern Ocean had consistently shown warming began at the end of the last …