Climate change: Melting Arctic ice


Arctic Sea. Ice is one one of the most dramatic indicators of the change in climate some months the ice cover on the Arctic Ocean is about half of what it was decades ago and its thickness has shrunk substantially changes in the ice may also mean a host of other changes in the Arctic system and around the globe to better understand the scientists. I just have frozen an icebreaker alongside and Arctic ice flow that they will absorb for a whole year. And that's where our reporter Ravenna chaotic. Caught up with them out on an the ice floe about five degrees from the North Pole. A bunch of scientists are setting up equipment. It's part of a project called mosaic or the multidisciplinary drifting observatory for the study of Arctic climate climate. And the primary question. They're trying to answer is what are the causes of diminishing Arctic ice and what are the consequences ocean physicists. Tim Stanton stand surrounded by boxes of tools and equipment next to a hole in the ice about fifteen miles from where the mosaics chef is frozen in. Good here dry hairdryer. Well it's a trickle. Would he he got frizzy here. That's for sure. It's about eighteen degrees Fahrenheit and the heat gun is for warming up electrical connectors actors on a science buoy. Stanton is in the middle of a grueling eight hour process to install the buoy. It'll operate independently out here throughout the year. Collecting team data from all sorts of scientific bells and whistles that hang below it in the water flux package mounts on and that's what Beige is the transport of heat. Salt Mamane plugged back in the water column. Here's why Stanton's interested in those things as more sea ice melts in the summertime. It's contributing fresher water to the top of the ocean the salty ocean water which sits lower. Because it's more dense can create a barrier that prevents the fresher water from going down if that top water is trapped near the surface surface. Stanton thinks that can absorb a lot more heat from the sun and lead to even more melting of the ice you can get these Frisch WOM- liars that with a little bit of wind comes along. Does a little bit of mixing really mounts the heck out of the is. He thinks this might play an important role in why the disappearing as fast does it is while Stanton is asking questions about things that are going on. Below the ice other scientists are looking at things going. On above it like Jesse Cremation. WHO's out on the ice testing gene? A device that collects tiny particles from the atmosphere called aerosols. Ampler to say no. We're not talking about the ones in hairspray. Aerosol balls can be dust pollen or fungi and they're the seeds that clouds need to grow and in the Arctic scientists thing that they can also come from tiny organisms in the water like bacteria. Algae less ice on the ocean could mean more aerosols getting blown from the water into the atmosphere and CD more clouds by hypothesis from open water sources. We get generation of these particles from microbes and the ocean. There's a lot that signed to still WANNA find out about clouds in the Arctic. But one thing they know is that they're important for regulating leading temperature like a thermostat depending on the season whether the clouds are over water or ice and the features of the clouds they can wind up cooling or warming the earth below slowdown that affects. How much heat can basically help melt the ice or it can actually reflect sunlight from the CIA so it has a big role in controlling? How much we we have here creaming and Stanton to among hundreds of scientists from different disciplines? Who are trying to better understand? How different parts of this changing region work how? The atmosphere interacts the CIS how the ocean interacts with the ice The ecosystem the biogeochemical processes. That's Matthew shoop an atmospheric scientist and one of the coordinators of the expedition addition. So why do scientists need to know all this. This whole project is aimed at improving our models. When shoop says models he means the computer simulation and scientists use to get estimates for things like how much the earth could warm in the next fifty years the better? You reflect reality in the simulations the better prediction you'll get but because so little is known about the Arctic system. shoop says that the predictions for how it will respond to climate. Change vary a lot. The Arctic is a place where the models agree. The least so that tells us that we're missing something improving. The models will help forecast things like when the Arctic Ocean might have. Its first ice free summer how quickly the globe is going to warm. As as a whole and how the melting greenland ice sheet will add to global sea level rise by observing. How all the little pieces of the system fit together over the next year scientists hope they it can bring that big picture into clear? Focus for N._p._R.. News I'm Ravenna. Kinik in the central Arctic Ocean.

Coming up next