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The onslaught from the West: will the Barents sea part of the Atlantic?
Material posted: Publication date: 13-07-2018
A study by Norwegian scientists about climate change in the Northern part of the Barents sea and their disappointing forecasts has caused an unexpectedly strong resonance in the Russian media. The attic knows whether the Russian North is threatened with ecological disaster.

Norwegian scientists analyzed the temperature changes and salinity of water layers in the Northern Barents sea from 1970 to 2016, and found that in the period from 2000 to 2016 they began to change, although the previous 40 years of observations of this there were no signs.

Over the past 17 years, the upper 60 meters in the "warm spot" in the Barents sea have become warmer by half a degree.

The scientists write that "climatic regime of the Northern Barents sea could soon complete the transition from cold Arctic to the warm stratified and well-mixed Atlantic". How will this affect the ecosystem of the sea is unknown, but complete fish (and therefore fishing) and marine animals such changes just will not work. A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

In the Barents sea — "the gate" between the Atlantic and the Arctic ocean — there are two climate regime in the North has a more cold Arctic with more fresh waters in the South Atlantic more soft, and the water is more salty.

The Arctic is a region where due to climate change is warming the fastest.

This warming is particularly strong in the Northern Barents and Kara seas region, which is called the "Arctic hot spot" or "warm spot" (arctic hotspot), where the change in temperature is observed throughout the water column. So, the increased in recent years, the transport of the warm, saltier waters from the Atlantic, on the one hand, and a decrease in transfer more fresh and cold Arctic waters, on the other, has led, according to scientists, to weaken the vertical stratification, or layering, of water. In addition, due to the mixing of the salty and warm Atlantic and cold and fresh Arctic more layers the upper layers become more salty, making it difficult to form ice.

Scheme: Anatoly Lapushka / Chrdk.

So far scientists have come, having analysed data of temperature and salinity collected from August to September for nearly half a century, from 1970 to 2016. With 18 thousand samples were taken in the Central part of the Barents sea and 7 thousand — in the Northern part of the area.

However, "atlanticare" North of the Barents sea do not explain why this region has become less winter ice, the waters of the two oceans met here always, but the onslaught from the West had never caused such a significant damage to the ice cover.

The Norwegian researchers suggest that the reason lies not in the "strengthening the West", and "the weakening of the North". In other words, it is not the inflow of warm and salt water, and the decrease in fresh and cold, which protected the ice from excessive melting. That, in light of the actual reduction of the ice cover in the Barents sea since 1980, and the news that last February, the temperature in the Arctic by as much as 20 degrees deviated from the norm in the direction of "plus", looks like a perfectly valid position.

Disaster or not?

"Article Norwegian colleagues in the journal Nature Climate Change is not about the disaster. Colleagues from Norway in this article showed that to explain the warming in the Northern part of the Barents sea is important not only to the inflow of warm Atlantic water, but the amount of ice and fresh water, which is introduced from the Central part of the Arctic ocean. And just last years ice is introduced into the region smaller, which allows heat from the Atlantic water to remain on the surface and slow down the formation of ice in winter and to heat the atmosphere", — said the "Attic", candidate of geographical Sciences, researcher at Norwegian research center of environment and climate of the far North "FRAM" Alexey Pavlov, adding that the authors do not make predictions, "rather think about the possible consequences of these changes".

"If you go to the source, where there are no fears," said the Deputy Director of the Murmansk marine biological Institute, Kola scientific center of Russian Academy of science, oceanographer Denis Moiseev.

Oceanographer sure that the data used by the authors of the article, not to "catastrophic" forecast.

"They look not for the entire year, but only from August to September. Second, they consider less than 50 years. That is, we are not talking about long natural cycles. And the areas that they evaluated, they are divided into areas, good or bad secured data. The area is really well secured data, even less", — says Moiseev.

The criticism of Moses was the fact that the authors did not consider changes in the living components of the ecosystem. At the changing ecosystem and its components, such as plankton, benthos, fish, you can talk about trends in climate, he said.

Oceanographer sure to exaggerate is not necessary, and recalls that the processes of the World ocean must be considered in the complex, "and not a small station." If North of Svalbard last winter ice almost was not, in the Kara sea in the area of the Ob Bay was very difficult ice conditions and ice a lot, he says.

About "athentification", or an increased influx of Atlantic waters to the Arctic, scientists say that these waters a few years ago came out of the Gulf of Mexico and have now reached the Arctic.

"The processes are cyclical in nature. What we are now seeing, was a few years ago in Equatorial regions. Which way it turns, it is difficult to say. This process, first, nonlinear, and second, a complex set of causal relationships that should be studied simultaneously. But our technical means are not always able to do it. Here you need to try to come to a reasonable compromise and the most comprehensive look at all the factors and for the largest possible number of areas", — said Moiseev.

Whether in the light of new data and scream: "Disaster!" or conversely, "Urra!", the question is rather stylistic. Climate change is real and scientifically proven process that lasts not a day or a month or even a decade. But how to be with him, humanity is not yet decided.

Tags: Arctic


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