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Depleting white cover turns Arctic green



Updated On - Monday, 26 August 2013

26 August 2013

WASHINGTON: Loss of Arctic sea ice is leading to the greening of the Arctic, researchers, including an Indian-origin scientist, have found.

sea ice decline and warming trends are changing the vegetation in nearby arctic coastal areas, scientists say.

"Our thought was to see if sea ice decline contributed to greening of the tundra along the coastal areas. It's a relatively new idea," said Uma Bhatt, an associate professor with University of Alaska Fairbanks's Geophysical Institute. It is a close, comprehensive look at how the losses of northern sea ice affect surrounding areas, researchers said.

The review team analysed 10 years worth of data and research on the subject. The findings show that sea ice loss is changing marine and terrestrial food chains. The noted sea-ice disappearance means a loss of sea-ice algae, the underpinning of the marine food web.

Larger plankton is thriving , replacing smaller, but more nutrient dense plankton. What that means exactly is not yet understood, researchers said. Above water, loss of sea ice has destroyed old pathways of animal migration across sea ice while opening new pathways for marine animals in others, they said.

Researchers said some animals and plants will become more isolated. In the case of the farthest north and coldest parts of the Arctic, entire biomes may be lost without the cooling effects of disappearing summer sea ice.

Published by: The Times Of India

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