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Sea Ice


A sea of ancient ice

ancient ice

WHOI scientist dusts off historical accounts to tackle the long-standing mystery of just how thick Arctic sea ice was in the early 19th century.

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Oases in Sea Ice Are Essential to Life in Antarctica

This video explains the key physical, biological and ecological processes in oases on the Antarctic icy coast — polynyas. Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Delaware are trying to unveil crucial connections among the physical and biological components in the polynyas and to understand how the Antarctic ecosystem responds to changes in the large-scale environment.

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March of the Penguins

Emperor penguins are some of the most striking and charismatic animals on Earth, but a new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has found that a warming climate may render them extinct by the end of this century. The study, which was part of an international collaboration between scientists, published Nov. 7, 2019, in the journal Global Change Biology.

The fate of the penguins is largely tied to the fate of sea ice, which the animals use as a home base for breeding, feeding and molting, she notes. Emperor penguins tend to build their colonies on ice with extremely specific conditions—it must be locked into the shoreline of the Antarctic continent, but close enough to open seawater to give the birds access to food for themselves and their young. As climate warms, however, that sea ice will gradually disappear, robbing the birds of their habitat, food sources, and ability to raise their chicks.

Jenouvrier and her team conducted the study by combining two existing computer models. The first, a global climate model created by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), offered projections of where and when sea ice would form under different climate scenarios. The second, a model of the penguin population itself, calculated how colonies might react to changes in that ice habitat.

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Why is the Greenland Ice Sheet melting faster than ever?

Senior scientist Claudia Cenedese has been studying how glaciers melt for the last 15 years in her fluids laboratory. In 2018 she was a principal investigator on a research cruise in Greenland for the first time. She wants to understand why the Greenland Ice Sheet is melting faster than ever and what happens to the fresh water released into the ocean.

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Unless warming is slowed, emperor penguins will be marching towards extinction

penguins

Emperor penguins are some of the most striking and charismatic animals on Earth, but a new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has found that a warming climate may render them extinct by the end of this century. The study, which was part of an international collaboration between scientists, published Nov. 7, 2019, in the journal Global Change Biology.

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A ‘Ticking Time Bomb’ in the Arctic

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.

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Sea Ice

The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy moves through pancake ice in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea. (Photo by Carin Ashjian, Woods Hole Oceanographic…

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Sea Ice Glossary

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Arctic ice can be divided into two different types, classified by their method of formation. Icebergs are chunks of floating…

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Monitoring Bacteria on Whale Skin

Monitoring Bacteria on Whale Skin

Just like with humans, the skin on marine mammals serves as an important line of defense against pathogens in their environment. A new study sheds light on the skin microbiome – ”a group of microorganisms that live on skin – ”in healthy humpback whales, which could aid in future efforts to monitor their health.

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Communicating Under Sea Ice

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.

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