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Arctic Fever Getting Hotter

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  • Pat Neuman
    Arctic Fever Getting Hotter New moorings are deployed from aboard the Maria S. Merian in the Fram-Strait. Credit: Ursula Schauer, Alfred-Wegener-Institut by
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 6, 2006
      Arctic Fever Getting Hotter

      New moorings are deployed from aboard the "Maria S. Merian" in the
      Fram-Strait. Credit: Ursula Schauer, Alfred-Wegener-Institut
      by Staff Writers
      Bremerhaven, Germany (SPX) Oct 05, 2006
      Several days ago, the 'Maria S Merian' returned from her second
      Arctic expedition with data confirming trends of Arctic
      warming. "Compared to last summer, the water that flows from the
      Norwegian Sea to the Arctic has been an average 0.8 degrees Celsius
      warmer this summer," says expedition leader Dr Ursula Schauer of the
      Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.
      "This is in addition to the last two years already having been
      warmer than the previous 20 from which we have regular measurements.
      Over the Yermak Plateau, an oceanic ridge, the oceanographers
      documented water of more than four degrees Celsius moving up to 81
      20' northern latitude," according to Schauer. During the expedition,
      biologists discovered zooplankton species from the Norwegian Sea
      which were previously unrecorded from the northern latitudes that
      they had reached via the warm waters.

      For one month, scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, the
      University of Bremen and the Polish Institute of Oceanology were
      tracking warm waters along the sea ice margin between Greenland and
      Spitsbergen. As the sea ice margin was far north this year,
      the 'Maria S Merian' reached its northernmost position yet at 81

      In Fram Strait, the scientists continued oceanographic and
      biological long-term studies that were initiated ten years ago.

      The climate change observed throughout the past ten years is
      particularly marked in the Arctic. Oceanographers are working
      towards a better understanding of the oceans' role in this process.
      How much heat is transmitted to the Arctic by the northernmost
      subsidiary of the warm North Atlantic Current, and how much
      variation is found in this heat pump, are some of the open
      questions. For this purpose, the transport of warm, high salinity
      water from the Atlantic to the Arctic has been recorded in the
      strait between Greenland and Spitsbergen, using an elaborate fixture

      Previous measurements have indicated the occurrence of several
      strong warm pulses during the past decade. Within the context of an
      international programme, a combination of this and similar data has,
      for the first time, enabled reconstruction of an Atlantic heat pulse
      through the Norwegian Sea and far into the inner Arctic over several

      In order to continue the time series, the scientists have collected
      the instruments deployed in Fram Strait and replaced them with new
      ones. The automated long-term recordings are verified and
      complemented with high resolution measurements of current water

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