NASA New Discovery
NASA New Discovery, NASA scientists investigating the Arctic Ocean have discovered blooms of microscopic plantlike organisms thriving beneath the ice that were previously hidden from scientists and the rest of the world.
These findings will help scientists understand the consequences of the rapidly changing Arctic climate and could provide important clues to understand the changes in the polar ecosystem, said NASA in a press release.
In the ICESCAPE (Impacts of Climate on EcoSystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment) project, researchers explored and sampled the area below the ice on the Chukchi Sea continental shelf north of Siberia. According to the study, they found that “phytoplankton biomass was extremely high, about fourfold greater than in open water,” reported AFP.
Part of NASA’s mission is pioneering scientific discovery, and this is like finding the Amazon rainforest in the middle of the Mojave Desert,” said Paula Bontempi, NASA’s ocean biology and biogeochemistry program manager in Washington, in a statement. “We embarked on ICESCAPE to validate our satellite ocean-observing data in an area of the Earth that is very difficult to get to. We wound up making a discovery that hopefully will help researchers and resource managers better understand the Arctic.”
Scientists had believed that phytoplankton grew underneath the Arctic Ocean only as sea life moved to new areas during the summer months. But now the thinning of the ice, scientists believe, is allowing more sunlight to reach the water, creating new plant blooms. (International Business Times)
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