Daily Mail: By drilling through the ice on Southern McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, and then into the sea floor below, Sarah Feakins of the University of Southern California and her colleagues have extracted and analyzed a core sample that includes pollen and other plant matter from 20 million years ago. At that time, known to geologists at the Burdigalian stage of the Miocene epoch, Earth was in a long period of warming between two ice ages. To determine how warm, Feakins and her colleagues looked at the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in leaf wax that they found in their core. How much deuterium is taken up by plants and preserved in their wax depends on the local temperature and rainfall. From their measurements, the researchers deduced that Burdigalian Antarctica was considerably wetter than it is today and warmer on average by 11°C. The study was published on 17 June in Nature Geoscience.