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Arctic Ocean Circulation

complex circulation system in the Arcticicon-caption
This complex circulation system in the Arctic—which impacts the entire food web—is in a delicate balance. (Illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

This complex circulation system in the Arctic—which impacts the entire food web—is in a delicate balance. In recent years, scientists have documented changes in the Arctic system, including a dramtatic reduction in sea ice cover and a weakening of the Beaufort Gyre circulation system, that are attributed to climate change. The Arctic Ocean affects the way of life of not only the Arctic native peoples, but also those of us living “downstream,” in Europe and North America. As such, the Arctic Ocean, and the effect of changes that are taking place there, are the focus of intense study by oceanographers of all disciplines.