Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Greenland: marine researchers examine the influence of the rapid rise in freshwater inflow

14.08.2012
Witnesses of glacial melting: marine researchers examine the influence of the rapid rise in freshwater inflow on marine algae along the west coast of Greenland

This year Greenland is experiencing one of the warmest summers in its recent history. This heat wave has meant that an international research team is in the unique position of being able to collect important climate data from the changing Arctic.

Until today German and US scientists on board the research ship MARIA S. MERIAN have been studying the extent to which the strong inflow of meltwater into the fjords along Greenland’s west coast are altering the chemical composition of the seawater and thus the living conditions for algae and other microorganisms.

Under the scientific leadership of Prof. Dr. Allan Cembella from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, scientists from the University of Oldenburg, the US-American Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Alfred Wegener Institute have until now spent 16 days travelling along the waters of the west coast of Greenland. During this time the biologists, chemists, physicists and oceanographers have been witnesses to an advancing ice melt: “The glacial ice is currently melting at an unprecedented speed, and in doing so it is releasing freshwater and substances that have been enclosed in the Arctic ice for hundreds if not for thousands of years,” says Allan Cembella.

The scientists also observed changes in water temperature which they measured in fjords at depths ranging from the water surface through to 700 metres. “An initial analysis of our measurement data from the Disko bay, for example, confirmed previous studies. According to this, there has been a clear rise in water temperature at a depth of 200 metres due to changes in ocean currents in the 90s. This warm water probably gets underneath the tips of glaciers where it can additionally promote glacial melting,” according to Allan Cembella.

Heat waves, glacial melting, decline in sea ice: the widespread changes in the Arctic present great challenges for its residents – especially on the west coast of Greenland. Allan Cembella: “We expect the habitats of many marine organisms to shift as a result of the warming. This shift will particularly affect the species that live in flat coastal waters because of late their summer ice cover has always melted. This means that fish stocks are affected in the same way as the plankton, the several species living on the sea bed, the sea birds and marine mammals – and ultimately also humans.”

With the expedition on the MARIA S. MERIAN research ship which ends today, the scientists are for the first time trying to document possible changes in the chemical composition of the fjord water and of the bodies of water in the coastal areas of Greenland and Iceland, and to draw conclusions about possible effects on symbioses in the ocean. “It is our aim to find out the extent to which the great inflow of melt water and resultant changed water properties specifically affect the life cycle of the phytoplankton. To this end we have taken samples of water from areas close to the glaciers and coast in the transition zone to the open sea,” explains Allan Cembella.

These data will be of incalculable scientific value, especially in view of icebergs breaking off glaciers as happened recently at the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland. “Several different future scenarios have until now assumed that harmful algal blooms will occur more frequently in the Arctic in the course of warming. Our current studies will help us understand whether and to what extent widespread glacial melting provides the chemical and physical foundations for such blooms,” says Allan Cembella.

Notes for Editors: Your contact partner at the Alfred Wegener Institute is Sina Löschke, Dept. of Communications and Media Relations (phone +49 (0)471 4831-2008; e-mail: Sina.Loeschke(at)awi.de). Please find printable images on our website http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/.

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in the high and mid-latitude oceans. The Institute coordinates German polar research and provides important infrastructure such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctic to the international scientific world. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 18 research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Ralf Röchert | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/.

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New plate adds plot twist to ancient tectonic tale
15.08.2017 | Rice University

nachricht Global warming will leave different fingerprints on global subtropical anticyclones
14.08.2017 | Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>