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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Add Warm Water...Ice Melts

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, March 7, 2014/Categories: natural history, sustainability, environment, climate change

Using 'big data' gathered by an orbiting satellite, JPL has produced an info-graphic showing the impact of warm river water on sea ice in the Arctic.

According to the research team in Pasadena:

The pair photographs show sea surface temperatures of the Beaufort Sea where Canada's Mackenzie River discharges into the Arctic Ocean, as measured by NASA's Terra spacecraft. The left image was captured in mid -June 2012, before discharged waters from the river (located in the bottom center) broke through the adjacent sea ice barrier (shown in light blue) stuck along the shore of the Mackenzie River delta. The image at right, acquired in early July 2012 showing the  infusion of heat from the river waters flowing into the sea after breaching the ice barrier (shown in yellow, orange and red). Water temperatures increased nearly 12 degrees Fahrenheit in the surface temperatures of the open water which then enhanced melting of the sea ice.

Arctic Sea Ice---Mackenzie River Delta, ice-bound, 6-14-12  (credit: NASA)

Arctic Sea Ice---Mackenzie River Delta breached, 7-5-12  (credit: NASA)

Dozens of major rivers flow north from across Canada, Alaska, and Russia into the Arctic Ocean. Besides discharging massive volumes of fresh water, these river move heat into the polar ocean. The results on ice are obvious and are a reflection of the continuing changes taking place there.


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