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Observing Arctic ice-edge plankton blooms from space
Date:3/4/2011

draw large amounts of carbon dioxide down from the atmosphere, some of which is exported to the deep ocean.

What effects future shrinkage in sea-ice will have on the ecology and biogeochemistry of the Arctic Ocean are still largely unclear, as Dr Yool explained:

"It is quite possible that ongoing climate change will lead to ice-free summers in the Arctic within the next few decades. As the melt season becomes longer, ice-edge blooms may propagate over larger distances, stripping out surface nutrients as they go. However, whether the Arctic becomes more or less productive will ultimately depend on complex factors affecting ocean stratification and mixing, and thus the availability of nutrients in sunlit surface waters."

Dr Yool and his colleagues hope that their findings will contribute to a better conceptual understanding of the ecology of the Arctic Ocean, which should help computer modellers forecast future changes under global warming.


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Contact: Dr. Rory Howlett
r.howlett@noc.soton.ac.uk
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK)
Source:Eurekalert  

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