An international team of scientists who have arrived back in Hobart from Antarctica say they have evidence the icy continent once had a tropical climate.
The team studied ice and mud cores from the Antarctic sea floor.
The crew of the integrated ocean drilling program drilled more than 3,000 cores showing a geological history going back 54 million years.
Co-leader of the expedition Dr Carlota Escutia says the team’s findings will allow scientists to understand more about the dramatic changes in the earth’s climate and improve future predictions.
“We have this particular bonus that we went so deep and so old that we actually reached into this, let’s say sub-tropical Antarctica,” he said.
“We thought it was there but to actually have it in your hand, it’s spectacular. It’s really mindblowing.”
“All these kind of things will be looked at and they will be put together to create this history of how the ice sheet behaved, how the sea ice behaved when we had such temperatures, such CO2s, back in time.”