Quantcast

'Atlantification' of Arctic Ocean Speeds Up

Oceans
The Barents Sea in Norway has become a warming "hot spot." Ilkka Jukarainen / CC BY-ND 2.0

The Arctic Ocean is warming so rapidly that it may soon transform into an upper arm of the Atlantic Ocean, researchers say.

A study published this week in Nature Climate Change shows how the Barents Sea in Scandinavia, where Atlantic waters enter the Arctic basin, has become a warming "hot spot," with temperatures spiking 2.7 degrees F since 2000.


The changes and accompanying loss of sea ice have caused the sea to exhibit qualities more in common with the Atlantic ocean, including most notably a sharp upward tick in salinity. "Model simulations have indicated Atlantic-type conditions in the northern Barents Sea by the end of the century, but according to our results, this is likely to happen much faster," researchers wrote.

As reported by Earther:

What that means for the region and the Arctic as a whole is an open question. We're already witnessing weird happenings in the Arctic every year at this point, from bizarre winter sea ice disappearances to heat waves at the North Pole to massive storms. Scientists are racing to understand these changes. What saltier, warmer seas mean for the ocean creatures that inhabit the region, the fisheries that have relied on them, and the future of ice are just a few more questions that need urgent attention.

For a deeper dive:

Washington Post, Earther, Ars Technica

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

The Carolina parakeet went extinct in 1918. James St. John / CC BY 2.0

The Carolina parakeet, the only parrot species native to the U.S., went extinct in 1918 when the last bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo. Now, a little more than 100 years later, researchers have determined that humans were entirely to blame.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
An elephant in Botswana. Mario Micklisch / CC BY 2.0

Two hunters who shot and killed a research elephant in Botswana and then destroyed its collar to hide the evidence have been banned from further hunting in the country.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brianna Elliott, RD

Vitamin C is a very important nutrient that's abundant in many fruits and vegetables.

Read More Show Less
BLM drill seeders work to restore native grasses after wildfire on the Bowden Hills Wilderness Study Area in southeast Oregon, Dec. 14, 2018. Marcus Johnson / BLM / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

In 2017 the Thomas fire raged through 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, California, leaving in its wake a blackened expanse of land, burned vegetation, and more than 1,000 destroyed buildings.

Read More Show Less