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A Forest from the Past
ABC, Feb 23, 2000

An amazing find of five acres of ancient [~10,000+ years old] forest, still standing and nearly perfectly preserved, down to the moss on the limbs of the trees. "If you look at the tree rings you can look at the microclimate (which determines growth) in this area right before it warmed up,” Bornhorst says. “One of the really fascinating things is we don’t see any indicators that the climate was going to warm up. "That has some practical significance. If nature didn’t give any warning then, what about today? "All of a sudden it warmed up, the glaciers poured the water down and buried them, and boom, they’re gone,” Bornhorst says. "Researchers examined the tree rings, expecting to find some sign that the climate was changing so rapidly.

Lessons for Today?

"Is there an indicator 50 years before that something’s going to happen?” Bornhorst says. “It doesn’t seem like it in the tree rings.” The results at this point are far from conclusive, but Bornhorst and others think the ancient forest may be telling us that major climatic changes may occur without warning. The trees in the ancient forest, he suggests, should have sensed that it was getting warmer and that should have been reflected in their rate of growth. But apparently they didn’t. Now, all these years later, those ancient trees seem to be raising the same question today that they did 10,000 years ago: Does anybody really know what’s going on?