Phytoplankton is actually an important part of the ecosystem in a basin of salt or fresh water. It is a community of self-feeding planktons. These algae are the starting point of the food chain as far as marine animals are concerned. They are in charge with the same goal as plants have in the terrestrial realm. They provide oxygen through photosynthesis for the aquatic environment. However, the warmer temperatures thin down the Arctic ice while beneath it there is a phytoplankton boom. Environmentalists are concerned about this phenomenon.
Global Warming Thinned the Ice Down Enough to Promote a Phytoplankton Boom
While in other areas, phytoplankton is a necessity, Arctic doesn’t need it. The sheets of ice reflect the solar light. Thus, there was impossible for such communities to grow under these conditions. However, nature found its way to thriving despite this deficiency. However, over the last years, the layers of ice decreased in dimensions because of climate change. Thus, the sun managed to penetrate the white shields and promote a phytoplankton boom.
As a consequence, the melt ponds increased in number. These spots are the massive pools of water that accumulate on top of the ice sheets. Thus, the water is exposed to sunlight which makes it warmer and proper for a culture of planktons. The publisher Science Advances issued this new research which found the cause of the unsettling rise of phytoplankton boom.
Twenty Years Ago, the Artic Plankton Culture Was Almost 30% Smaller than Today
The author of the study is Chris Horvat. He is a researcher at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Horvat shed some light on how the Arctic ice managed to melt at such an accelerated pace. Moreover, environmentalists were still puzzled by the increased number of melt ponds.
Scientists employed mathematical modeling and simulations of the period between 1986 and 2015. This is how they managed to observe that the phytoplankton boom is larger than it was believed. Back in 1997, the algae covered only 3% of the surface beneath Arctic ice. However, in today’s world, this proportion increased to 30%.
While the plankton culture nurtures an increased population among marine animals, they are also toxic for this region. They promote the corrosion of the Arctic ice and expose the water to sunlight. This way, the area loses its beneficial sub-zero temperatures. Thus, the Earth’s refrigerator is decaying, leaving a planet exposed to the cruel solar irradiance and high temperatures.
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