New, first-of-its-kind research from CU Boulder shows that climate change is driving increasing amounts of freshwater in the Arctic Ocean.
New, first-of-its-kind research from CU Boulder shows that climate change is driving increasing amounts of freshwater in the Arctic Ocean. Within the next few decades, this will lead to increased freshwater moving into the North Atlantic Ocean, which could disrupt ocean currents and affect temperatures in northern Europe.
The paper, published July 27, 2020 in Geophysical Research Letters, examined the unexplained increase in Arctic freshwater over the past two decades and what these trends could mean for the future.
“We hear a lot about changes in the Arctic with respect to temperature, how ecosystems and animals are going to be affected,” said Rory Laiho, co-author and PhD student in atmospheric and oceanic sciences. “But this particular study gives an added perspective on what's happening physically to the ocean itself, which then can have important implications for ocean circulation and climate.”
Since the 1990s, the Arctic Ocean has seen a 10% increase in its freshwater. That’s 2,400 cubic miles (10,000 cubic kilometers), the same amount it would take to cover the entire U.S. with 3 feet of water.
Read more at University of Colorado at Boulder
Image: Nares Strait, between Greenland and Canada, as seen from space. (Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC)