Study documents rising amount of sea-bottom debris
There’s more direct evidence that plastic pollution is increasing rapidly in the remote Arctic Ocean, according to German scientists, who have tracking sea-bottom litter at two research stations since 2002. The Hausgarten deep-sea observatory network includes a total of 21 stations in the Fram Strait, between Greenland and Svalbard.
In the past 20 years, acidified waters have expanded in the Arctic ocean, spreading northward from Alaska’s Chukchi Sea coastline to just below the North Pole. The pool of acidified water is also getting deeper, from 100 to 250 meters, according to a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.
In a press release, the researchers said it’s the first time they’ve documented such a rapid and large-scale increase in acidification, “at least twice as fast as that observed in the Pacific or Atlantic oceans,” according to University of Delaware professor Wei-Jun Cai.
The changes will impact different types of ocean life, including tiny marine snails known to be susceptible to ocean acidification, said NOAA scientist Richard Feely. Other Arctic species potentially at risk from ocean acidification are fisheries of shrimp and varieties of salmon and crab — all important food sources for indigenous communities. Continue reading “Ocean acidification spreading in the Arctic”→
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.
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.
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.
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 “Shell gets federal greenlight for exploratory Arctic drilling”→