Scientists have discovered that the frozen deserts of Ladakh once had a coastal environment millions of years ago with palm trees dotting its landscape.
Palaeobotanists scouring the icy heights of Jammu and Kashmir came across a set of plant fossils near Tsokar in the Eastern Ladakh region and say it is proof of the existence of a coastal environment in the region.
"The fossils belong to the middle-late Eocene period, anywhere between 45-33 million years ago," S K Paul, a senior scientist with the Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology has said.
"Its presence not only indicates that palms were abundant during the middle-late Eocene in the region, but also suggests that the area had not attained as much height as it has today (about 5,000 meters above mean sea level)," he said.
Interestingly a new US study says that climates that have existed in some parts of Earth may disappear altogether as the planet continues to warm. And new types of climate could develop in other areas, it says.
A team of researchers led by John W Williams, an assistant professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, used computer models to estimate how climates in various parts of the world would be affected. They were checking on the global change forecasts prepared for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The IPCC, representing the world's leading climate scientists, had reported some alarming findings in February, predicting widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level.
Now Wisconsin researchers have concluded that tropical regions may face unexpected changes, particularly the rain forests in the Amazon and Indonesia.
This in itself is surprising, for tropics are not known to have much of a variation in weather patterns.