Goddard Shows Video of Largest Under-Ice Bloom Seen on Planet
NASA Goddard shows video capturing a massive Arctic under-ice plant bloom that stunned scientists, according to Goddard.
The discovery of massive Arctic marine plant life "stunned scientists, as an under-ice bloom of this size has never been seen anywhere on the planet," according to NASA Goddard, which recently posted video of the discovery. See the attached video.
The mushrooming growth of these plants, called phytoplankton, is a consequence of the Arctic's warming climate, according to a NASA report. Sunlight is reaching the water under the sea because the ice on top is thinning and speeding up plant blooms where they had never been observed.
Not only that, scientists think the melting pools have a magnifying glass effect—focusing sunlight into sea water, according to a CNN report, making phytoplankton—which are essential to all sea life—bloom better under the thinning ice than in the ice-free waters nearby.
Phytoplankton is growing so richly in the melting Arctic pools that researchers estimate under-ice production could be up to 10 times higher than it is in the nearby ocean, according to NASA.
On a NASA-sponsored expedition called ICESCAPE, in the summers of 2010 and 2011, scientists were surprised to discover waters richer in phytoplankton than in any other ocean region on Earth, NASA reports.
Previously, scientists thought, phytoplankton only grew in the Arctic Ocean after sea ice had retreated for the summer, NASA reports.
"If someone had asked me before the expedition whether we would see under-ice blooms, I would have told them it was impossible," said Kevin Arrigo of Stanford University in Stanford, CA, leader of the ICESCAPE mission, as reported by NASA. "This discovery was a complete surprise."