Tag: Fram Strait

Plastic pollution is increasing in the Arctic Ocean

Plastic debris is increasing in the Fram Strait, east of Greenland. @bberwyn photo.

Study documents rising amount of sea-bottom debris

Staff Report

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.

The Alfred Wegener Institute’s Mine Tekman,  lead author of a new study published in the scientific journal Deep-Sea Research I, said the long-term monitoring confirms that the amount of plastic litter has increased rapidly in the past 15 years.  Other scientists with the AWI have also documented evidence of a floating garbage patch starting to form in the Barents Sea region of the Arctic Ocean. Plastic has already been reported from stomachs of resident seabirds and Greenland sharks. Continue reading “Plastic pollution is increasing in the Arctic Ocean”

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Climate: What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic

The Fram Strait is a key link in the global ocean circulation system, as the passage for most of the Arctic sea ice exiting the region.
The Fram Strait is a key link in the global ocean circulation system, as the passage for most of the Arctic sea ice exiting the region.

Detailed ocean sediment layers paint clear picture of link between Arctic sea ice movement and ocean currents

Staff Report

FRISCO — An extraordinarily clear deposit of layered seafloor sediments has helped researchers explain the connection between Arctic sea ice movement and the movement of key ocean currents that redistribute warm water across the northern hemisphere.

Specifically, the new study by scientists with the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany looked at the movement of sea ice through the Fram Strait, between Greenland Svalbard, finding that, when massive quantities of Arctic ice melt and move south through the strait, the Gulf Stream slows, cooling the climate in Europe. Continue reading “Climate: What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic”

Environment: Plastic pollution showing up in the Arctic Sea

Sea water off the east coast of Greenland looked a bit like marbled paper in October 2012. The shifting swirls of white were sea ice, as observed by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on October 17, 2012. In fact, this ice moved discernibly between October 16 and October 17. Thin, free-drifting ice moves very easily with winds and currents. Click the image for more info from the NASA Earth Observatory.

German study finds litter on the seafloor in the Fram Strait

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Underwater cameras used primarily to track ecological changes on the floor of the Arctic Sea have helped German researchers quantify increases in the amount of plastic waste in the region. In some places, concentrations of garbage are higher than those found in a deep-sea canyon near Lisbon, Portugal.

“The main victims of the increasing contamination of the seafloor are the deep-sea inhabitants,” said Dr. Melanie Bergmann, biologist and deep-sea expert at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association. “Almost 70 percent of the plastic litter that we recorded had come into some kind of contact with deep-sea organisms. For example we found plastic bags entangled in sponges, sea anemones settling on pieces of plastic or rope, cardboard and a beer bottle colonised by sea lilies,” Bergmann said. Continue reading “Environment: Plastic pollution showing up in the Arctic Sea”

Global warming: Key ocean channel heating up

The Fram Strait is a key link in the global ocean circulation system, as the passage for most of the Arctic sea ice exiting the region.

Warmer waters flowing north contribute to loss of Arctic sea ice

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Ocean temperatures in a key North Atlantic channel are warmer than at any time during the past 2,000 years — well outside the range of natural variations seen in the historic record, according to University of Colorado researchers who were involved in a recent study of the area.

“We know that the Arctic is the most sensitive region on the Earth when it comes to warming, but there has been some question about how unusual the current Arctic warming is compared to the natural variability of the last thousand years,” said Thomas  Marchitto, a fellow at CU-Boulder‘s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). The new observations are crucial for putting the current warming trend of the North Atlantic in the proper context, he said. “We found that modern Fram Strait water temperatures are well outside the natural bounds.” Continue reading “Global warming: Key ocean channel heating up”