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The sea ice is getting thinner
Date:9/13/2007

llow the scientists to better interpret their satellite images. Sea-Ice biologists from the Institute of Polar Ecology at the University of Kiel are studying the animals and plants living in and beneath the ice. They are using the opportunity to investigate the threatened ecosystem. According to the newest models, the Arctic could be ice free in less than 50 years in case of further warming. This may cause the extinction of many organisms that are adapted to this habitat.

Ocean Currents

The Arctic Ocean currents are an important part of global ocean circulation. Warm water masses flowing in from the Atlantic are changed in the Arctic through water cooling and ice formation, and sink to great depths. Constant monitoring by the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research over the last ten years have recorded significant changes, and have demonstrated a warming of the incoming current from the Atlantic Ocean. During this expedition, the propagation of these warming events along each of the currents in the North Polar Sea will be investigated.

The large rivers of Siberia and North America transport huge amounts of freshwater to the Arctic. The freshwater appears to function as an insulating layer, controling the warmth transfer between the ocean, the ice and the atmosphere.

The study area stretches from the shelf areas of the Barents Sea, the Kara Sea and the Laptev Sea, across Nansen and Amundsen bays right up to Makarow Bay.

Between Norway and Siberia and up to the Canadian Bay the scientists have taken temperature, salinity, and current measurements at more than 100 places. First results have shown that the temperatures of the influx of water from the Atlantic are lower as compared to previous years. The temperatures and salinity levels in the Arctic deep sea are also slowly changing. The changes are small here, but the areas go down to great depths, and enormous water volumes are therefore involved. In order
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Contact: Dr. Angelika Dummermuth
Angelika.Dummermuth@awi.de
49-471-483-11742
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Source:Eurekalert

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