In 2002, climatologists from Ohio State University who were working on the Quelccaya Ice Cap in the Peruvian Andes, found themselves face to face with a specimen of a kind of moss (Distichia muscoides), long caught in the ice. Dated with carbon, the sample was old 5177 years (more or less 50 years). According to the researchers, this discovery is the result of global warming, which each year shrinks the largest tropical glacier in the world and has made the plant accessible. Today, Quelccaya - which culminates in
a few 5600 meters above sea level - loses thirty meters a year, a figure 40 times higher than in the 1970 years. While the mass of glaciers tends to vary, Lonnie Thompson and her colleagues believe that the age of the plant they have brought to light illustrates the exceptional nature of the melt we are witnessing. Data from the National Climatic Data Center goes in the same direction; they indicate that the ten warmest years recorded since global temperature measurements have
started at the end of the 19th century have all occurred since 1990.
WSJ 22 / 10 / 04 (When is plant emerges from glacier melting, is it global warming?)