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Arctic Changes

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Arctic Changes

Item #d98dec38

At the AAAS 49th Arctic Science Conference in Fairbanks, Alaska, October 25-28, Igor Melnikov ( of the Russian Academy of Sciences compared the findings from the 1997-98 SHEBA investigation to those of a similar survey conducted from 1975 to 1981. Among the differences, he noted that

  • sea-ice diatoms that had been prevalent in the previous study were sparse in species and numbers;
  • freshwater green algae are now dominant among phytoplankton and occur throughout the sea ice; and
  • invertebrate animals (such as nematodes, copepods, and amphipods), previously found in interior sea-ice, were not found.

Melnikov decided that these changes resulted from melting of the sea-ice cover during the past decade, drainage of fresh water through the sea ice, and an accumulation of fresh water beneath the ice, making it “more a freshwater/brackish system than a real marine system.”

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