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Not much is known about the chemistry in the air over the Arctic Ocean, and what happens to important chemicals is hardly studied by the scientific community because of the difficulty of working in this cold, inhospitable environment.
There is some evidence that many important processes occur right at the ice surfaces and ice/open water regions of the Arctic Ocean. This has to be confirmed and understood if we are to explain how chemicals are deposited from the air to the ice or water and how that might affect fish, marine mammals and eventually human health. For example, mercury (a toxic pollutant which can affect health) and ozone (an important gas causing chemical reactions) can change properties when exposed to salt from sea water in the Arctic. Carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the most important greenhouse gases can be trapped by the Arctic Ocean. Cloud covers the sky above the Arctic Ocean and this is influenced by chemicals emitted from the Ocean. It is clear that changes in these processes will affect the Arctic and those who live within it in many ways (e.g. clouds change the temperature which can change the ice cover). And change is happening: climate change is occurring at an accelerated rate in the Arctic, and this is especially evident over the Arctic Ocean. And there are many feedbacks between climate change and the Arctic System that we need to understand. The OASIS program was developed to face this challenge.
During the International Polar Year, the goal of OASIS is to collect information on the chemistry in the air over the Arctic Ocean itself. Buoys (floating platforms) will be used on the frozen ocean to make it possible, for the first time, to measure the chemicals in the air year round, and study what happens to them directly over the Arctic Ocean. Furthermore research vessels (ice breakers) will be joined providing the unique opportunity to collaborate with researchers from different fields of expertise (including social scientists) to study the air, ice, ocean, and the life they contain as a whole. These studies will permit us to better determine the future impacts of climate change to the Arctic Ocean and the life it contains, ultimately improving our ability to forecast the impact of climate change on those living in the North, and the rest of the planet.
What is IPY
Saturday, 30 December 2006 04:11
OASIS-IPY: Ocean-Atmosphere-Sea Ice Snowpack Interactions and connections to climate changeWritten by Administrator
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