New data has led scientists to the details that the Arctic is experiencing its highest temperatures in 115,000 years, according to a new report.
The new study "shows that we are now exhibiting 120,000-year-old landscapes," said Simon Pendton, lead author at the University of Colorado's Arctic and Alpine Research Institute, quoted by Gizmodo.com.
"Our last century of warmth is probably greater than any century in the past 120,000 years," Pendleton added.
Researchers included in the new report study geographic anomalies and ancient ice on the Canadian island of Baffin, especially in tall ice caps and deep fjords.
The ice caps, unlike the glaciers, do not move, and the matter lying on the ground on which they are formed remains as long as the cap stays in place.
As global warming due to human-induced climate change impacts the equilibrium of ice caps – along with everything else on the planet – the Arctic has warmed twice as fast as any other place, according to extensive research.
With increasing summer melting rates in Arctic regions, large amounts of ancient mosses and lichens – among other things – are exposed to the edge of the rapidly falling ice.
While the researchers collected samples and conducted radiocarbon dates, they found that mosses were about 40,000 years old, a known glacial period in the northern hemisphere.
Pendleton and his team then compared their findings to a variety of sources, including ice measurements from nearby Greenland, and found that the region had been set on ice for a period much longer than 40,000 years, which makes them see that current Arctic summer rates are now higher than at any time during 115,000-120,000 years, according to Gizmodo.com.
The further melting of the ice cap will reveal more ancient lands, researchers say, allowing scientists to predict the increased changes in the Arctic. Even without radiocarbon dating, the ecosystem of Bafin Island and its surroundings is rapidly shifting and changes are becoming more visible.
"To see it and walk on the ice cap and find out that we are in a time setting out landscapes that have not seen sunlight for 120,000 years," Pendleton said, "has a profound effect," Phys.org quotes.