Published On: Fri, Jun 8th, 2012

NASA discovers rainforest of ocean life at Arctic, credits global warming

NASA has announced that a new oceanic discovery in the Arctic waters is like a rain forest of life, with more microscopic marine life essential to human life than any other place on Earth.

NOAA photo library via wikimedia commons

Surprising to some, NASA is thanking global warming.

The ICESCAPE project’s findings were announced Thursday and published in the journal Science.

From 2010-2011, NASA used a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker to scour Alaska’s northern and western coasts. The ICESCAPE (Impacts of Climate on EcoSystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment) team explored changes in the ecosystems on the ocean floor of the Arctic, citing a PRNews report.

NASA says they were surprised to discover the evidence of phytoplankton during a time in which it should have retreated for the winter.

Paula Bontempi, NASA’s ocean biology and biogeochemistry program manager in Washington said this about the “biological” discovery of in the Arctic Ocean:

“Part of NASA’s mission is pioneering scientific discovery, and this is like finding the Amazon rainforest in the middle of the Mojave Desert. We embarked on ICESCAPE to validate our satellite ocean-observing data in an area of the Earth that is very difficult to get to. We wound up making a discovery that hopefully will help researchers and resource managers better understand the Arctic.”

Kevin Arrigo of Stanford University, the leader of the ICESCAPE mission, said:

“If someone had asked me before the expedition whether we would see under-ice blooms, I would have told them it was impossible. This discovery was a complete surprise…. At this point we don’t know whether these rich phytoplankton blooms have been happening in the Arctic for a long time and we just haven’t observed them before. These blooms could become more widespread in the future, however, if the Arctic sea ice cover continues to thin.”

Arigo said that the discovery may threaten large migratory sea animals. Arigo said:

“It could make it harder and harder for migratory species to time their life cycles to be in the Arctic when the bloom is at its peak. If their food supply is coming earlier, they might be missing the boat.”

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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