Warm Waters Under Arctic Ice a ‘Ticking Time Bomb’

The Extinction Chronicles

Sea ice atop the Arctic OceanNASA

Scientists warn that a warm layer of salty ocean water accumulating 50 meters beneath the Arctic‘s Canadian Basin could potentially melt the region’s sea-ice pack for much of the year if it reaches the surface.

The findings were published Thursday in the journal Science Advances by researchers from Yale University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

This “archived” heat is currently trapped under a surface layer of colder freshwater, but if the two layers mix, “there is enough heat to entirely melt the sea-ice pack that covers this region for most of the year,” lead author Mary-Louise Timmermans, a professor of geology and geophysics at Yale University, told YaleNews.

The researchers discovered that the heat content of the warm, salty layer doubled from 200 to 400 million joules per square meter…

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