Climate change in the Arctic could help reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations

Climate change in the Arctic could help reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations

Clean Arctic  
Specialists from the Antarctic and Antarctic Research Institute joined the international team. For almost 10 years, a team of scientists has been analyzing changes in the amount of nutrients and water mixing in the seas of the Siberian shelf and studied the impact of these processes on climate change in the region.

"The analysis showed that a sharp decrease in the area of summer sea ice in the Arctic, especially in the Laptev Sea, observed over the past 14 years, has significantly affected the processes of mixing of ocean layers and the vital activity of microscopic algae. This has led to the transformation of the entire ecosystem of the Arctic seas, an increase in the number of microscopic algae in the upper layers of the ocean and in the future can reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide," the AARI press service said.

Algae grow in the sunlit surface layer of the ocean. They are the beginning of the food chain and form the backbone of the Arctic ecosystem. Until recently, their growth was limited by the availability of nutrients that enter the Arctic Ocean mainly from the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. At the same time, enriched waters are located significantly below the sunlit zone, therefore, for the supply of nutrients to the top, mandatory vertical mixing of the water layers is required. Recently, the processes of water mixing have changed significantly due to an increase in solar heat and the area of open water in the Arctic.

According to scientists, mixing processes may increase due to the rapid reduction of summer sea ice. The study showed that the processes of vertical mixing are also significantly affected by sea storms, currents, proximity to the continental slope area and an increase in solar heating in the open sea area.

The institute noted that additional observations and studies will help to finally understand the dynamics of nutrient transfer in the Arctic.

“Processes are already being observed in which the fluxes of nutrients in the Siberian shelf seas can increase to concentrations that are now observed, for example, in the Barents Sea. This allows us to put forward a hypothesis about the possibility of serious changes in the entire Arctic ecosystem. and more active absorption of organic carbon in this region,"as per the the report.
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