The warming of the Arctic Ocean began as early as the beginning of the 20th century – decades earlier than previously thought. This is due to the flow of warm waters from the Atlantic Ocean towards the fragile polar ecosystem.
Scientists from several countries have reconstructed what was happening in the Fram Strait region in recent years when the ocean began to warm. The strait acts as a gateway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean. It is located between Greenland and Svalbard.
Using chemical fingerprints found in marine microorganisms, researchers determined that the rapid warming of the Arctic Ocean began at the beginning of the last century, when warm, salty waters from the Atlantic first arrived. This phenomenon is also known as “Atlanticasia”. Since 1900, the ocean temperature has risen by about two degrees Celsius. At the same time, the volume of ice decreased and the salinity of the water increased.
The results are published in the journal science progress They provide the first ever historical perspective to analyze the Atlantic Ocean and Atlantic ice. The close connection between the two oceans shapes the climate around the Arctic, which can significantly influence further changes in the seawater-ice ratio and rising sea levels.
Scientists note that global warming affects all the world’s oceans, but the smallest and shallowest of them is the fastest – the Arctic Ocean.
“The rate of warming in the Arctic Ocean is more than twice the global average,” hovorí geograf Francesco Muschitiello. “Thanks to satellite measurements, we know that the Arctic Ocean temperature has been steadily increasing, especially over the past 20 years, but we wanted to take current warming into account in a broader context.”
Time bomb from the north
Photo: Bernhard Staehli / Shutterstock.com
Although we know that the Atlantic is one of the causes of warming in the Arctic, satellites monitoring this process give us a glimpse into the past, which is no more than 40 years apart.
As the ocean warms, the ice sheet in the north is melting, causing sea level to rise. At the same time, melting ice causes the sun to fall on an increased portion of the water, which then heats the air.
Arctic warming continues to melt methane-rich permafrost, Which is considered one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide.
Using geochemical and environmental data from sediments in the ocean, scientists have reconstructed the process by which water properties have changed over the past 800 years. “If we look back over the past 800 years, we see that ocean temperature and salinity appear to be constant.” says Tessie Tommaso of the National Scientific Council in Bologna, Italy. “But out of nowhere, at the beginning of the 20th century, there was a big change in temperature and salinity.” Salinity refers to the degree of salinity of the ocean.
The researchers also compared the results of the study with ocean circulation at low latitudes. Their findings suggest that the widening of the Atlantic Ocean is likely related to a slowdown in the formation of dense waters in the Labrador Sea.
“The deep circulation in this region is likely to slow further in the future due to melting of the Greenland ice sheet,” Muschitiello says. “We think that because of climate change, we can expect more Arctic Atlantic in the future.”
Scientists add that Previous climate models were wrong, Because they assumed that the Atlantic occurred for the first time after the beginning of the last century.
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