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Study Reveals Arctic Ocean Started Getting Warmer Decades Earlier Than Expected

Using the chemical signatures found in marine microorganisms, the researchers found that the Arctic Ocean began warming rapidly at the beginning of the last century as warmer and saltier waters flowed in from the Atlantic

Study Reveals Arctic Ocean Started Getting Warmer Decades Earlier Than Expected
As the Arctic Ocean gets warmer, it causes the ice in the polar region to melt, which in turn affects global sea levels
Highlights
  • Since 1900, the ocean temperature has risen by around 2 degrees Celsius
  • All of the world's oceans are warming due to climate change
  • Atlantification is one of the causes of warming in the Arctic

London: A new study has suggested that the Arctic Ocean has been getting warmer since the beginning of the 20th century – decades earlier than the records have previously suggested. The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Science Advances’. An international group of researchers reconstructed the recent history of ocean warming at the gateway to the Arctic Ocean in a region called the Fram Strait, between Greenland and Svalbard. Using the chemical signatures found in marine microorganisms, the researchers found that the Arctic Ocean began warming rapidly at the beginning of the last century as warmer and saltier waters flowed in from the Atlantic – a phenomenon called Atlantification – and that this change likely preceded the warming documented by modern instrumental measurements.

Also Read: Climate Crisis: Why Is The Rise In Global Temperature Beyond 1.5°C Above Pre-Industrial Level Dangerous?

Since 1900, the ocean temperature has risen by approximately 2 degrees Celsius, while sea ice has retreated and salinity has increased. The results provide the first historical perspective on the Atlantification of the Arctic Ocean and reveal a connection with the North Atlantic that is much stronger than previously thought. The connection is capable of shaping Arctic climate variability, which could have important implications for sea-ice retreat and global sea-level rise as the polar ice sheets continue to melt. All of the world’s oceans are warming due to climate change, but the Arctic Ocean, the smallest and shallowest of the world’s oceans, is warming fastest of all.

The rate of warming in the Arctic is more than double the global average, due to feedback mechanisms. Based on satellite measurements, we know that the Arctic Ocean has been steadily warming, in particular over the past 20 years, but we wanted to place the recent warming into a longer context, said co-lead author Dr Francesco Muschitiello from Cambridge’s Department of Geography.

Also Read: Glasgow Climate Pact Agreed At COP26 Undermines ‘Climate Justice’, Say Experts

Atlantification is one of the causes of warming in the Arctic, however instrumental records capable of monitoring this process, such as satellites, only go back about 40 years. As the Arctic Ocean gets warmer, it causes the ice in the polar region to melt, which in turn affects global sea levels. As the ice melts, it exposes more of the ocean’s surface to the sun, releasing heat and raising air temperatures. As the Arctic continues to warm, it will melt the permafrost, which stores huge amounts of methane, a far more damaging greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The researchers used geochemical and ecological data from ocean sediments to reconstruct the change in water column properties over the past 800 years. They precisely dated sediments using a combination of methods and looked for diagnostic signs of Atlantification, like change in temperature and salinity.

When we looked at the whole 800-year timescale, our temperature and salinity records look pretty constant. But all of a sudden at the start of the 20th century, you get this marked change in temperature and salinity – it really sticks out, said co-lead author Dr Tesi Tommaso from the Institute of Polar Sciences of the National Research Council in Bologna.

“The reason for this rapid Atlantification of at the gate of the Arctic Ocean is intriguing,” said Dr Muschitiello.

Also Read: Climate Change Is For Real, Here’s Why We Need To Limit Global Warming And Act Now

We compared our results with the ocean circulation at lower latitudes and found there is a strong correlation with the slowdown of dense water formation in the Labrador Sea. In a future warming scenario, the deep circulation in this subpolar region is expected to further decrease because of the thawing of the Greenland ice sheet. Our results imply that we might expect further Arctic Atlantification in the future because of climate change, added Dr Muschitiello.

The researchers say that their results also expose a possible flaw in climate models because they do not reproduce this early Atlantification at the beginning of the last century.

Climate simulations generally do not reproduce this kind of warming in the Arctic Ocean, meaning there’s an incomplete understanding of the mechanisms driving Atlantification. We rely on these simulations to project future climate change, but the lack of any signs of early warming in the Arctic Ocean is a missing piece of the puzzle, said Dr Tommaso.

Francesco Muschitiello is a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

Also Read: COP26: What Is Climate Change Adaptation, And Why Is It Important For Human Survival?

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

World

26,27,61,966Cases
22,35,18,265Active
3,40,28,506Recovered
52,15,195Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,27,61,966 and 52,15,195 have died; 22,35,18,265 are active cases and 3,40,28,506 have recovered as on December 1, 2021 at 3:56 am.

India

3,45,96,776 8,954Cases
99,0231,520Active
3,40,28,506 10,207Recovered
4,69,247 267Deaths
In India, there are 3,45,96,776 confirmed cases including 4,69,247 deaths. The number of active cases is 99,023 and 3,40,28,506 have recovered as on December 1, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,35,658 678

11,226 299

64,83,435 942

1,40,997 35

Kerala

51,41,814 4,723

44,314 824

50,57,368 5,370

40,132 177

Karnataka

29,96,148 291

6,445 462

29,51,492 745

38,211 8

Tamil Nadu

27,26,917 720

8,244 47

26,82,192 758

36,481 9

Andhra Pradesh

20,72,909 184

2,149 47

20,56,318 134

14,442 3

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,399 12

89 3

16,87,399 8

22,911 1

West Bengal

16,16,083 705

7,731 2

15,88,866 694

19,486 13

Delhi

14,40,934 34

287 2

14,15,549 32

25,098

Odisha

10,49,108 228

2,188 23

10,38,509 203

8,411 2

Chhattisgarh

10,06,813 34

318 0

9,92,902 34

13,593

Rajasthan

9,54,785 15

193 6

9,45,637 9

8,955

Gujarat

8,27,475 40

275 13

8,17,108 27

10,092

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,170 20

119 7

7,82,523 27

10,528

Haryana

7,71,709 17

163 2

7,61,492 19

10,054

Bihar

7,26,223 4

36 3

7,16,524 7

9,663

Telangana

6,75,994 196

3,591 10

6,68,411 184

3,992 2

Assam

6,16,852 144

2,625 30

6,08,124 109

6,103 5

Punjab

6,03,279 21

325 4

5,86,352 22

16,602 3

Jharkhand

3,49,244 12

98 3

3,44,006 9

5,140

Uttarakhand

3,44,255 28

141 9

3,36,706 19

7,408

Jammu And Kashmir

3,36,852 171

1,625 1

3,30,751 172

4,476

Himachal Pradesh

2,27,195 102

834 10

2,22,513 91

3,848 1

Goa

1,78,928 38

284 8

1,75,260 30

3,384

Mizoram

1,35,175 365

3,751 54

1,30,927 415

497 4

Puducherry

1,28,924 31

284 12

1,26,768 43

1,872

Manipur

1,25,205 36

649 6

1,22,579 40

1,977 2

Tripura

84,805 14

81 3

83,900 10

824 1

Meghalaya

84,480 19

294 9

82,713 9

1,473 1

Chandigarh

65,465 9

65 7

64,580 2

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,276 3

35 0

54,961 3

280

Sikkim

32,242 9

124 3

31,715 6

403

Nagaland

32,122 13

133 7

31,293 20

696

Ladakh

21,578 38

276 26

21,088 12

214

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,683

1 0

10,678

4

Lakshadweep

10,394

24 0

10,319

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,683

6 2

7,548 2

129

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