Thinning Arctic sea ice lets in light, prompts algae bloom - study | Reuters

By Alister Doyle | OSLO OSLO Climate change is stirring life in the Arctic Ocean as thinning sea ice lets in more sunlight, allowing microscopic algae to bloom in the inhospitable region around the North Pole, scientists said on Wednesday.The micro-algae may now be able to grow under the ice across almost 30 percent of the Arctic Ocean at the peak of the brief summer in July, up from about five percent 30 years ago, they wrote. Blooms may become even more widespread.'Recent climate change may have markedly altered the ecology of the Arctic Ocean,' wrote scientists in the United States and Britain led by Christopher Horvat of Harvard University.The first massive under-ice bloom of algae was seen in 2011 in the Chukchi Sea north of the Bering Strait separating Alaska and Russia, a region until then thought too dark for photosynthesis. The scientists, writing in the open-access journal Science Advances, based their estimates on mathematical models of the thinning ice and ponds of melt water on the ice surface that help ever more sunlight penetrate into the frigid waters below.The average thickness of Arctic sea ice fell to 1.89 metres (6.2 ft) in 2008 from 3.64 meters in 1980, according to another study.

Reuters March 30, 2017 00:00:07 IST
Thinning Arctic sea ice lets in light, prompts algae bloom - study
| Reuters

Thinning Arctic sea ice lets in light prompts algae bloom  study
 Reuters

By Alister Doyle
| OSLO

OSLO Climate change is stirring life in the Arctic Ocean as thinning sea ice lets in more sunlight, allowing microscopic algae to bloom in the inhospitable region around the North Pole, scientists said on Wednesday.The micro-algae may now be able to grow under the ice across almost 30 percent of the Arctic Ocean at the peak of the brief summer in July, up from about five percent 30 years ago, they wrote. Blooms may become even more widespread."Recent climate change may have markedly altered the ecology of the Arctic Ocean," wrote scientists in the United States and Britain led by Christopher Horvat of Harvard University.The first massive under-ice bloom of algae was seen in 2011 in the Chukchi Sea north of the Bering Strait separating Alaska and Russia, a region until then thought too dark for photosynthesis.

The scientists, writing in the open-access journal Science Advances, based their estimates on mathematical models of the thinning ice and ponds of melt water on the ice surface that help ever more sunlight penetrate into the frigid waters below.The average thickness of Arctic sea ice fell to 1.89 metres (6.2 ft) in 2008 from 3.64 meters in 1980, according to another study. Sub-ice algae seem to become dormant in winter, when the sun disappears for months, and are revived in spring.

Horvat told Reuters it was unclear how the growth might have knock-on effects on the Arctic food chain, perhaps drawing more fish northwards. "Very few of these blooms have been observed," he wrote in an e-mail.The new light adds to uncertainties about the economic future of the region that is warming at about double the average rate for the Earth as a whole. Almost all governments blame this trend mainly on a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases.

U.S. President Donald Trump, however, has sometimes called man-made warming a hoax and signed an order on Tuesday to undo climate change regulations issued by former President Barack Obama. Governments of nations around the Arctic Ocean, including the United States, have been working on rules for managing potential future fish stocks in the central Arctic Ocean as the ice shrinks and thins. They last met in mid-March in Iceland. (Reporting by Alister Doyle; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.