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Arctic Ocean Circulation

(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.

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News & Insights

Imagining Home: scientist’s stay in the Arctic extended by coronavirus

WHOI biologist Carin Ashjian is aboard the icebreaker Polarstern in the Arctic as part of the year-long MOSAiC research expedition. She should be almost home by now. Instead, her stay has been extended by COVID19.

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News Releases

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WHOI in the News

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From Oceanus Magazine

Waiting on the next freshwater flush

Could the unprecedented amounts of freshwater in the Beaufort Sea stall the current system that controls our climate? WHOI’s Isabela Le Bras weighs in.

Tracking change in the Arctic Ocean

Changes in the Arctic Ocean are becoming clearer, thanks to an ocean monitoring network maintained by WHOI researchers in the Beaufort Gyre since 2003.

A ‘Ticking Time Bomb’ in the Arctic

Scientists discover that the amount of heat in a major Arctic Ocean circulation system has doubled over the past 30 years. If the temperatures continue to spike, it could eventually spell trouble for the ice above.

Communicating Under Sea Ice

Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution developed a new communication and navigation system that works over long distances under Arctic sea ice, allowing scientists to use autonomous underwater vehicles to explore the ice-covered Arctic Ocean.

Signs of Big Change in the Arctic

The climate in the Arctic region once predictably shifted back and forth between two regimes. But now the system seems to be stuck.