Scientists set out last Friday on year long voyage to study the effects of climate change on the arctic
Last Friday, the Alfred Wegener Institute’s flagship, the Polarstern, slipped its moorings and headed north to float among the ice of the Arctic for the next year in the hope of studying the effects climate change has had on the arctic and how it may affect the region in the future. The expedition, called the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC), includes at least 60 scientists from Norway, the United States, and various other countries, plus about 40 members that make up the ship’s crew. The Polarstern, which will act as a floating research hub, will study how climate change affects the Arctic microbiome, the surrounding ocean environments, arctic ice and snow melt, and the rate of warming of the ocean and air. ~
According to NASA, since 1880, the average global temperature has risen 1.4 degrees fahrenheit. While this may not seem like a lot of warming, it has far reaching negative effects on the global environment.These effects include the increase in the length and frequency of droughts, as well as the increase in the intensity and frequency of hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. However, the warming effects of climate change that have occurred have had more drastic effects in the Arctic. Ice coverage in the Arctic is near the record low that was reported in 2012 by the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado. According to The New York Times, Dr. Rex, the lead researcher on the MOSAiC expedition, says that “we need to understand what is driving that rapid climate change. Most data gathered about the Arctic climate can only be gathered in the summer months while the much of the ice is melted. However, with the MOSAiC project the Polarstern will float among the ice, allowing it to take accurate data, year-round.” ~
According to Dr. Rex, there is a lot of research that needs to occur so future policy makers can make wise decisions when looking to the future. Regardless of the extent of climate change, the expedition looks to be a small step into the reams of data would still need to be collected in order for scientists and policy makers to fully understand the complex issue. ~
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