The diversity, distribution and ecology of diatoms from Antarctic inland waters

first_imgDiatoms are abundant and diverse in many Antarctic freshwaters, with a general trend of decreasing diversity moving southwards. They form an important component of many benthic algal communities in streams and standing waters but are generally less common in the phytoplankton. Diatoms are excellent ecological indicator species and, because their remains are preserved in many sedimentary environments, there appears to be a great potential for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and the examination of past diversity. A lack of taxonomic precision and consistency, coupled with the insufficient collection from some geographical areas, makes the estimation of the number of Antarctic diatom species problematic.last_img

Sea-ice-free Arctic during the Last Interglacial supports fast future loss

first_imgThe Last Interglacial (LIG), a warmer period 130,000–116,000 years before present, is a potential analogue for future climate change. Stronger LIG summertime insolation at high northern latitudes drove Arctic land summer temperatures 4–5 °C higher than in the pre-industrial era. Climate model simulations have previously failed to capture these elevated temperatures, possibly because they were unable to correctly capture LIG sea-ice changes. Here, we show that the latest version of the fully coupled UK Hadley Center climate model (HadGEM3) simulates a more accurate Arctic LIG climate, including elevated temperatures. Improved model physics, including a sophisticated sea-ice melt-pond scheme, result in a complete simulated loss of Arctic sea ice in summer during the LIG, which has yet to be simulated in past generations of models. This ice-free Arctic yields a compelling solution to the long-standing puzzle of what drove LIG Arctic warmth and supports a fast retreat of future Arctic summer sea ice.last_img read more