Impacts Of Climate Change On The Arctic – Arctic sea ice was photographed in 2011 during NASA’s ICESCAPE mission, or “Impacts on the Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment”, an investigation into the -ship to study how changing conditions in the Arctic affect ocean chemistry and ecosystems. Most of the research was conducted in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in the summer of 2010 and 2011. Credit: NASA/Kathryn Hansen

A major ocean current in the Arctic is faster and more turbulent as a result of the rapid melting of sea ice, a new study from NASA shows. The current is part of a delicate Arctic environment that is now flooded with fresh water, an effect of human-caused change.

Impacts Of Climate Change On The Arctic

Impacts Of Climate Change On The Arctic

Using 12 years of satellite data, scientists measured how this circular current, called the Beaufort Gyre, precariously balanced an influx of unprecedented amounts of cold, fresh water — a change which can change the currents in the Atlantic Ocean and cool the West. Europe.

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The Beaufort Gyre keeps the polar environment in equilibrium by storing fresh water near the ocean surface. The wind blows the lime clockwise across the western Arctic Ocean, north of Canada and Alaska, where it naturally collects fresh water from glacial melt, runoff river and precipitation. This fresh water is important in the Arctic in part because it floats above warmer salt water and helps protect sea ice from melting, which in turn helps regulate World. The lime then slowly releases this fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean over a period of decades, allowing Atlantic Ocean currents to carry it away in small amounts.

But since the 1990s, the lime has accumulated a large amount of fresh water – 1,920 cubic miles (8,000 cubic kilometers) – or almost twice the volume of Lake Michigan. The new study, published in Nature Communications, found that the cause of this increase in the concentration of fresh water is the loss of sea ice in summer and autumn. This decades-long decline in Arctic summer sea ice cover has left the Beaufort Gyre more exposed to wind, which rotates the gyre faster and traps fresh water in -his current.

Persistent westerly winds have also pulled the current in one direction for more than 20 years, increasing the speed and size of the clockwise current and preventing fresh water from leaving the Arctic Ocean . This westerly wind that lasts decades is unusual for the region, where before, the winds changed direction every five to seven years.

Scientists have been keeping an eye on the Beaufort Gyre in case the wind changes direction again. If the direction were to change, the wind reverses the current, pulling it counter-clockwise and releasing the water that has accumulated at once.

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“If the Beaufort Gyre were to release excess fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean, it could potentially reduce its circulation. And this would have implications throughout the hemisphere for the, especially in Western Europe,” said Tom Armitage , lead author of the study and a polar scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Fresh water released from the Arctic Ocean to the North Atlantic can change the density of surface waters. Normally, water from the Arctic loses heat and moisture to the atmosphere and sinks to the bottom of the ocean, where it moves the water from the north Atlantic Ocean to the tropics like a conveyor belt.

This important current is called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation and it helps to regulate the planet by carrying heat from tropical heated water to northern latitudes like Europe and North America. If reduced enough, it can negatively impact marine life and the communities that depend on it.

Impacts Of Climate Change On The Arctic

“We don’t expect a shutdown of the Gulf Stream, but we do expect impacts. That’s why we’re monitoring the Beaufort Gyre so closely,” said Alek Petty, co-author of the paper and a polar scientist at NASA’s Goddard. Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

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The study also found that, although the Beaufort Gyre is out of balance due to the added energy from the wind, the current expels that excess energy by forming small, circular eddies of water. While the increase in turbulence has helped keep the system balanced, it has the potential to lead to more ice melting because it mixes layers of cold, fresh water with relatively warm salt water below. Melting ice can, in turn, lead to changes in the way nutrients and organic material in the ocean are mixed, significantly affecting the food chain and wildlife in the Arctic . The results reveal a delicate balance between wind and ocean as the sea ice pack shrinks under the change.

“What this study is showing is that sea ice loss has really important impacts on our system that we’re just discovering,” Petty said. A University scientist is part of a team led by the University of Liverpool working on a £2.6m Project to explore how ecosystems in the Arctic Ocean are being altered by climate change.

Funded by the Natural and Environmental Research Council (NERC), ocean scientists and marine biologists will undertake a three and a half year research project with the aim of better understanding how the changes driven from the climate in the Arctic will affect the productivity at the base of the food web and two species of Arctic seals, the harp seal and the ring seal.

The project will study the structure of the Arctic food web over the next few years, and will also use archival samples of seal teeth collected from the 1950s in the Norwegian Arctic and the 80 in the Canadian Arctic to better understand how climate change has altered the structure of the food web in decadal time. scales.

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The Arctic Ocean is undergoing unprecedented rates of environmental change, warming faster than any other ocean region. Sea ice is shrinking by 10% every decade and is causing open water regions to expand.

The Arctic Ocean ecosystem is inextricably linked to sea ice, with sea ice derived productivity being an important food source at the base of the food web and also providing a platform for the Arctic seals molt and reproduce.

Not only is Arctic sea ice receding but ocean circulation is changing as species from subpolar regions are migrating to the Arctic and river runoff is increasing. The project aims to improve our knowledge of the immediate and long-term consequences of these rapid changes in the Arctic on the currently poorly understood marine ecosystem.

Impacts Of Climate Change On The Arctic

About half of the world’s soil carbon is currently stored in Arctic permafrost. This huge frozen pool is vulnerable to global warming and is being released through melting, increased river runoff and erosion and transported to the Arctic Ocean.

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A scientist from the University of Dr. Bart van Dongen, will be leading part of the project, working with a PhD student, to study how the soil containing the carbon that comes out of the melting permafrost, enters the -the arctic food web.

Dr van Dongen said: “About half of the world’s soil carbon is currently stored in Arctic permafrost. This huge frozen pool is vulnerable to global warming and is being released through melting, increased river runoff and erosion and transported to the Arctic Ocean. In this project we are trying to improve our understanding of the fate of this remobilized carbon in the Arctic Ocean and its contributions to the Arctic food web.”

Liverpool Ocean Scientist Dr Claire Mahaffey, who is leading the project, said: “The big challenge is to be able to discover if and how climate change is changing the ecosystem of -sea in the Arctic above the variability of the natural ecosystem.

“We propose to use stable isotope biomarkers, seal population ecology and mathematical models to develop a new framework for detecting long-term change in the Arctic ecosystem. We will also consider the impact of a changing Arctic on seal population dynamics and thus provide some insight into the management of future ecosystem services.”

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This research is funded through NERC’s £10million Changing Arctic Ocean; Implications for the Marine Biology and Biogeochemistry Research Program supporting four research projects and involving 15 UK research institutions starting in February 2017. The top of the world is turning from white to blue in summer as the ice that has long covered the northern polar seas melts. . This monumental change is leading to a cascade of effects that will amplify global warming and may destabilize the global climate system.

The news last week that the summer sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean was tied for the second lowest point on record is a sobering reminder that the planet is heading rapidly towards the Arctic in the mostly snow free in the warmer months, possibly as early as 2020.

After that, we can expect the ice-free period in the Arctic basin to expand to three to four months a year, and eventually to five months or more.

Impacts Of Climate Change On The Arctic

Since I have been measuring Arctic Ocean ice thickness from British nuclear submarines in the early 1970s, I have seen a stunning reduction in the sea ice covering the northern polar regions — a reduction of more than 50 percent in range in summer, and even steeper. reduction in ice volume. Only a few decades ago, ice 10 to 12 feet thick covered the North Pole, with subsurface

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