I’ve just become aware of what I think is a very interesting paper, albeit one from outside of my field: Persistent near-tropical warmth on the Antarctic continent during the early Eocene epoch (Pross et al 2012).
The executive summary, as it were, is that Eocene-era Antarctica (55-48 million years ago) may have been a lot warmer than is generally reckoned. It’s been known for quite a while that the southern-polar continent hasn’t always been glaciated, and certainly has been forested in the distant past. However, the impression I’d got (from what I’ve read, here and there) was that the general opinion was that non-glaciated Antarctica was still a fairly cold place. Intuitively, given its extreme latitude, that would seem to make sense.
This study is arguing that simple intuition is wrong in this case.