Along with thinning of ice, one more issue faced by Arctic sea is the extensive growth of microscopic plant life, hampering the marine life, says, scientists.
Back in 2001, scientists noticed the huge growth of phytoplankton present on Arctic sea ice, even in the conditions where the photosynthesis process was difficult to happen.
Researchers from Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applies Sciences said that thinning of ice level is the main cause behind the bloom of phytoplankton, which disrupts Arctic food chain.
Phytoplanktons affects the Arctic food chain. During summer these phytoplanktons receives sunlight which causes them to bloom.
The ice reflects sunlight back and prevents it from reaching the water below, but due to phytoplanktons, this light is absorbed into the water. Big and dark water present on the surface of ice is known as melt ponds. There is an increase in a number of melt ponds which is lowering the light reflectivity. The ice on the surface is getting more thinner gradually.
“One important concern was how much amount of light is getting reflected back due to the thickness and based on melt pond percentage which is rising,” said Chris Horvat, a graduate student at SEAS.
“Inorder to find this, we have traveled from a state where there was no scope for planktons to bloom, to the regions where there was a massive presence of these planktons,” said Horvat.
According to the mathematical model designed by the research team: The main cause behind the growth of these planktons is the thickness of ice apart from melt ponds and favorable conditions.
About two decades ago, there was only 3 to 4 percent thinning of ice reported in Arctic sea. Inspite of this there was the large bloom of planktons underneath. At present, about 30 percent of ice-covered Arctic ocean allows such blooms during summer.
The study is published in the journal Science Advances.