Posted on November 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Long-term study tracks shifting currents in Fram Straight
Intensive monitoring along the Fram Straight, between Greenland Svalbard, shows that even a short-term influx of warm water into the Arctic Ocean would be likely to have long-lasting effects on regional ecosystems.
Even small changes in surface water temperatures could quickly spread to affect life in the depths of the Arctic Ocean, a team of scientists concluded in a new study published in the journal Ecological Indicators. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic Ocean, climate change, Fram Straight, global warming | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 24, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Is another garbage patch forming in the Arctic?
Science ship documents plastic debris near Greenland; northern Europe eyed as source
Scientists aboard a German research vessel say they’ve started documenting plastic debris on the surface of the Arctic Ocean, creating new problems for marine life in the environmentally sensitive region.
Plastic has already been reported from stomachs of resident seabirds and Greenland sharks. The plastic litter reported from the Fram Strait could be leaking from a new garbage patch forming in the Barents Sea, the researchers concluded in their study, published in the scientific journal Polar Biology. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, Environment | Tagged: Arctic Ocean, Environment, plastic pollution | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 30, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Marine conservation advocates say new seismic airgun blasting in the Arctic Ocean threatens whales and other marine life. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Seismic blasting east of Greenland raises concerns about impacts to marine mammals
FRISCO — The Arctic Ocean north of Alaska isn’t the only area increasingly at risk from oil and gas exploitation. Oil companies are exploring the seabed off the eastern coast of Greenland, and the seismic blasting is likely harm whales and other marine life.
Oil companies use seismic equipment to map underground oil and gas reserves with airguns that emit 259 decibel blasts, a sound intensity would be perceived by humans as approximately eight times louder than a jet engine taking off. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, energy, Environment, gas drilling, Marine biology, ocean conservation, oil drilling | Tagged: Arctic Ocean, energy, Environment, marine mammals, narwhals, seismic blasting | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 22, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Shell gets OK for exploratory drilling in the Arctic Sea.
Conditional permits limit operations and set protections for marine mammals
FRISCO — Shell’s Arctic drill plans got a green light from federal regulators today, as the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement issued a pair of conditions permits for limited exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea, off the coast of Alaska.
The permits limit Shell to drilling in the top sections of wells. The company won’t be allowed to probe deep in into the oil-bearing zones until well-capping equipment is on hand and deployable within 24 hours — which still leaves enough time for thousands of gallons of crude to leak into the sensitive and pristine Arctic Ocean. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate change, energy, Environment, gas drilling, global warming, oil drilling | Tagged: Arctic drilling, Arctic Ocean, Chukchi Sea, disaster waiting to happen, Environment, global warming, marine mammals, OilSpill, Shell Oil | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 5, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Warmer seas don’t always take up more carbon
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — As sea ice inexorably declines, the Arctic Ocean has started to absorb more carbon — by some as estimates, as much as one additional megaton each each, thanks to increased biological productivity.
But those effects are not spread evenly across the region, according to a new study that paints a nuanced picture of how global warming is changing the carbon cycle in the Arctic. The MIT research team modeled changes in Arctic sea ice, temperatures, currents, and flow of carbon from 1996 to 2007, and found that the amount of carbon taken up by the Arctic increased by 1 megaton each year.
But their detailed analysis found that some areas of the Arctic where temperatures have warmed the most are actually storing less carbon. Instead, these regions — including the Barents Sea, near Greenland — have become a carbon source, emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic Ocean, carbon cycle, climate change | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 25, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Deep waters in the Greenland Sea are warming.
Abysmal sea temps in region rising 10 times faster than global average
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Changing ocean dynamics have resulted in a distinct warming of deep waters in the Greenland Sea.
Since the 1980s, the water temperature between 2000 meters depth and the sea floor has risen by 0.3 degrees Celsius — enough heat energy to raise surface temperatures over Europe significantly. The rate of warming is about 10 times higher than the global average.
“This sounds like a small number, but we need to see this in relation to the large mass of water that has been warmed,” said Dr. Raquel Somavilla Cabrillo, who led the study for the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.
“‘The amount of heat accumulated within the lowest 1.5 kilometres in the abyssal Greenland Sea would warm the atmosphere above Europe by 4 degrees centigrade. The Greenland Sea is just a small part of the global ocean. However, the observed increase of 0.3 degrees in the deep Greenland Sea is ten times higher than the temperature increase in the global ocean on average,” Somavilla said. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming, Greenland | Tagged: Arctic, Arctic Ocean, climate change, Environment, global warming, Greenland Sea | 3 Comments »
Posted on August 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New models look at year-round ice-free conditions to find parallels with Pliocene epoch
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — As atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide start to hover around 400 parts per million, climate scientists have been looking back about 3 to 5 million years, to the Pliocene Epoch — the last time heat-trapping greenhouse gases were at a similar level.
But temperatures during the Pliocene were about 3.5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today and the sea level was 65 to 80 feet higher. Until now, scientists have assumed that there’s a time lag between atmospheric CO2 levels and the subsequent temperature increases that melt ice and drive ocean levels up. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic Ocean, Arctic sea ice, climate science, global warming, Pliocene, sea level, University of Colorado Boulder | Leave a comment »