Scientists have made a biological discovery in Arctic Ocean waters as dramatic and unexpected as finding a rainforest in the middle of a desert. They have found a phytoplankton or algal bloom beneath ice in the Arctic. The crew of the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy, in the midst of their ICESCAPE mission. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Mercury, a toxic element, is accumulated in the Arctic Ocean by the flow of circumpolar rivers and atmospheric forces, according to Environmental scientists at Harvar. They find out that the mercury that actually comes from the rivers, is twice as much that from the atmospheric source. Above the Lena River delta. Image courtesy of NASA
NASA’s Aqua satellite is named for its ability to measure water vapor in the atmosphere, water in the oceans, as well as ice and snow. It was launched on May 4, 2002, and has been functioning perfectly for 10 years, providing us 29 million gigabytes of data. Image above: Two powerful storms in the South China Sea near the Philippines.
Using data from ESA’s CryoSat satellite, scientists can observe the changes in Arctic sea-ice thickness between October 2010 and March 2011. Every year, the Arctic Ocean during the winter months experiences the formation of vast amounts of floating ice, and melting during the summer months.
ESA and NASA met up for a remarkable collaborative effort over the Arctic Ocean last week, to perform some carefully coordinated flights directly under CryoSat orbiting high above. The aim is to record sea-ice thickness and conditions of the ice exactly along the line traced by the satellite.
If you have never been north of the Arctic Circle, it is easy to imagine that the “ice cap” at the top of the world is a uniform sheet of white. The reality, particularly during the spring and summer melt, is a mottled landscape of white, teal, slate gray, green, and navy.