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Arctic Ocean Update: Will An Increased Atlantic Water Heat Be Felt Following The Melting Of Sea Ice?

Arctic Ocean Update: Will An Increased Atlantic Water Heat Be Felt Following The Melting Of Sea Ice?

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First Posted: Sep 21, 2016 04:07 AM EDT
Polar Swim
Polar bears are can do long-distance swimming, but too much of it can be extremely hard for them. Roger Ahlbrand / Flickr CC BY 2.0

During the past months, the Arctic region has been making headlines due the melting of sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean. The happening had numerous effects on different animals and even humans. And now, an important question is being discussed: Will the Arctic water heat increase following the retreat of sea ice?

According to Phys.org, the Arctic region has significantly warmed up, and one evidence that proves such happening is the melting of sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean. The seasonal minimum is reached every mid-September; and so far, 2016 has the second lowest on record next to 2012's record minimum.

In connection to this, Arctic scientists are currently discussing the extreme Arctic warming that is said to be driven by external atmospheric and oceanic influences. Upon investigation, Bangor University researchers suggested that there is no evidence of increasing heat brought about by inflowing Atlantic water winds. While there is heat in the sub-surface waters, the layer of cold Arctic water made possible the warm water's isolation from the sea surface. The findings from Bangor University's research contradicts the belief that the wind could bring more heat to the ocean's surface layers while the sea ice retreats.

Meanwhile, as mentioned above, the melting of sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean has affected animals particularly the polar bears. In May this year, Science News for Students reported that polar bears have been swimming longer distances in search for food. While they are good at long-distance swimming, too much swimming in cold water can take lots of energy and cause the bears to lose weight; thus, making it hard for them to survive. Moreover, the effect of this climate change went as far as the polar bears "hunting humans". Just recently, CBS News reported about a polar bear 'seige' in Troynoy Island, which affected a team of Russian scientists. While the scientists were rescued, one of their dogs was killed by the bears.

As of writing, discussions on the claims and contradictions about heat stirring up from the Atlantic water are still going on. More findings are set to be presented and discussed further.

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