NASA discovered a “forest” under the Arctic ice

29 Jun

A scientific expedition in conjunction with the U.S. space center, said that the Arctic Ocean is green staining of the proliferation of microscopic marine plants, which are essential for life on other seas, but had not survived until now in a ecosystem so cold.Global warming is behind a phenomenon that has not been detected in its full extent.The expedition ICESCAPE (short for Climate Impacts on Ecosystems and Chemistry of the Arctic) explored the waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in Alaska aboard a U.S. icebreaker.
“We have seen a massive growth of phytoplankton between 800 centimeters and 1.3 meters in the first-year ice cover in the Chukchi Sea,” say the authors. This layer extends over 100 kilometers, a phenomenon that had not been observed so far. Changes in the Arctic had been detected by satellite imagery from NASA. It was thought that these plants green tinged water and are the basis of the marine food chain, only grew after the retreating sea ice, which occurs in summer. The problem, says biologist Sam Laney, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is that, as a downpour made the desert bloom, the accumulation of melt water in short periods of time in the Arctic have important effects on the ecosystem. According to their analysis, the ice thinned, sunlight reaches the waters beneath the permafrost on the sea, allowing the plant to develop.

“If someone had asked me if we would see flowers under the ice, I would have said it was not possible. It was a complete surprise, “says Kevin Arrigo of Stanford University and leader of the expedition.

Phytoplankton also grew extremely active, reaching double their number in one day, when the flowers open water, take two or three. As the phytoplankton, in turn, consumes large amounts of carbon dioxide, scientists will be evaluated later, how much CO2 is entering the Arctic Ocean if it appears that these plants become common under the ice.

“Right now we do not know if these blooms are just beginning to occur, or if we have not seen before,” said Arrigo, who believes that if the ice is thinning, will eventually turn into a forest on the sea.


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