Researchers studied data on reductions in the ice cap in the Nansen Basin in the Arctic Ocean over the past 20 years and drew the conclusion that rapid melting is linked to warm flows from the ocean depths.
The authors of the study produced mathematical calculations using new data from satellite monitoring systems – assessing reductions in the area and mass of the polar ice cap in the Nansen Basin.
The scientists believe that their findings will help produce more accurate climate forecasts. They concluded that reductions in the ice cap were linked to opposite water flows – vertical movements under the influence of gravitational force.
“The analysis we carried out allows us to establish that the effect of a vertical convective flow from the ocean depths to the top 100-metre surface layer in the winter season is the determining factor in the process of the reduction of the polar ice cap in the winter,” Vladimir Ivanov, senior academic at the Lomonosov Moscow State University, told Tass news agency.
“The consequence of this powerful warm flow is the protracted existence of ice-free areas near the flows of Atlantic waters at this time of the year. We believe that the mechanism for such action is the vertical thermohaline circulation in the opposite direction, vertical movement under the effect of gravitational force.”
The scientists said that in the top surface layers of the ocean, temperatures rise and salt content increase from the ocean depths. In winter, the top layer becomes heavier and as a result, waters under the effect of gravitational force flow in a vertical fashion. The researchers acknowledge that the deep penetration of convection in the Atlantic waters of the Arctic is an anomaly linked to global warming.
The reduction in size of the ice cap in Atlantic sections of the Arctic has been observed wield-wise and affects and poses a threat to climate and the well-being of the region’s fauna.