Arctic Land Ice Following the Pattern of Sea Ice

Written by on February 3, 2014 in Other News

Daily Summary

Arctic sea ice melt ponds.

Arctic sea ice melt ponds. Photo credit: NASA HQ PHOTO via photopin cc.

Alaska’s Arctic icy lakes lose thickness
Not only is Arctic sea ice melting earlier and freezing later every year, but so is land ice. Research reveals that the shallow lakes along Alaska’s Arctic coastal plain are retaining open water conditions for much longer. Satellite data shows that far fewer of them will freeze through to the bottom in winter. As land ice follows the pattern of sea ice, researchers note several potential issues, from changing the ecology of the lakes to eliminating the “ice roads” that trucks drive across in winter.

California coastline.

California coastline. Photo credit: NOAA.

Creating a marine reserve snapshot; collaborative project sets baseline for protected areas
Last weekend, a team of academics, citizen scientists, fishermen, and tribal governments began a new program to monitor California’s newest marine protected areas along the North Coast. The North Coast network is made up of 20 protected areas — 19 MPAs and one marine recreational management area — which cover 137 square miles. Over the course of the three-year project, researchers will gather data on the baseline ecological and socioeconomic conditions in the area. Baseline monitoring programs have been completed in CA before, but this will be the first one to incorporate the knowledge of local Native American tribes.


Eelgrass. Photo credit: NOAA.

Mysterious ocean circles in the Baltic Ocean explained
The mysterious circles off the Baltic coast of Denmark aren’t so mysterious after all. They are not bomb craters from World War II, and they certainly weren’t made by aliens or fairies. Researchers from University of Southern Denmark and University of Copenhagen concluded that the circles were made of eelgrass growing in shallow water. The strange part is why these plants were growing in circles instead of the normal continuous meadows. It turns out that the mud that accumulates around the plants is actually toxic to eelgrass. Most of the mud gets washed away, but the eelgrass traps it. Eelgrass grows in a circle from the inside out, which means that the oldest plants are in the inner circle. The mud isn’t toxic enough to hurt the young, strong plants on the outside, but it is strong enough to kill the oldest, weakest plants on the inside, resulting in hollow circles.

Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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