The Arctic Is Greening Due To Marine Plankton Blooming

First Posted: Mar 30, 2017 03:11 AM EDT

The Arctic sea ice is melting, causing the thinning of its sheets. With this, the Arctic is turning green because of the marine plankton that could grow under the thinning sheets of sea ice.

In the study printed in the journal Science Advances, in 2011, the phytoplankton could not flourish in the regions of the Arctic Ocean because the sea ice could not generate photosynthetic life. This has been twisted, as researchers discovered that about 30 percent of the Arctic sea ice is already thinning and capable of letting the plankton bloom. Besides this, there are large pools of water that have been developing on the surface that could aid sunlight to get through the ice.

Plankton are organisms that include algae, bacteria, protozoa, archaea and drifting animals that inhabit the waters. These organisms could be a source of food to marine animals such as the fish and whales. Plankton is divided into groups, namely the phytoplankton that could live near the water surface with enough light to support photosynthesis, the zooplankton, the microplankton and the bacterioplankton.

Recently, the sea ice is at its record low levels with 14.1 million square kilometers for this year, compared to the average with 15.4 million between 1981 and 2010. Meanwhile, its temperatures reach up to 11 degrees Celsius warmer than the average between 1961 and 1990, according to The Independent.

Dr. Chris Horvat from Harvard University said that the big question was how much sunlight gets through the sea ice. The thickness of the Arctic sea ice has been lessened by an average of a meter in the past 30 years. Dr. Horvat stated that this altered the ecology in the region dramatically as well as how the ecosystem works.

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