Global Warming May Lead to More Polluted Arctic Waters

transpolar drift image

image: Arctic Monitoring & Assessment Program

You don't have to be a mariner to be aware of at least some of the world's major ocean currents -- at least in the context of their potential impact on maintaining climate, if not how to use them to help your voyages. Here's one you may not have heard of though, and one with which global warming may play havoc: The Transpolar Drift. New Scientist tells us all about it:The Transpolar Drift, along with the Beaufort Gyre, circulate the waters in the Arctic and keep pollution from settling there for very long.

Scientists from Norway's Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, attempting to better understand how this process works, plugged their data into an ocean circulation/climate change model to examine the system out until 2080.

Arctic Currents Weaken or Stop With Double CO2 Levels
What they found was that under a business as usual scenario, with CO2 levels doubling by 2070, the Transpolar Drift stops and other Arctic currents weaken due to, among other factors, melting of sea ice and changed wind patterns in a warmer world. Under this scenario, pollution which had previously been dissipated by the currents begins to accumulate along the non-European coastlines.

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