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Posts tagged Barents Sea

Climate Change in the Barents Sea – June 21st, 2013

70.2N 50.8E

June 21st, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Russia – June 21st, 2013

Visible on the right side of this image is the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, part of Russia, between the Barents and Kara Seas. Recent data over the last decade show an Arctic wide temperature increase consistent with model projections of global warming rather than showing regional warming patterns which would have been caused by natural variability as occurred in previous Arctic warming episodes such as the 1930s.

While a major surprise was the nearly 40% loss of September sea ice extent in 2007, the major change is that in every year since then sea ice has been below 30% and that much old, thick sea ice has disappeared. Extensive forest fires are another major Arctic change. These shifts seem to be rapid and occurring 20-30 years earlier than expected by steady processes in climate forecast models.

The Arctic is normally dominated a very stable “Polar Vortex” of counter-clockwise circulating winds surrounding the North Pole which traps the cold Arctic air mass at high latitudes. However, during early winter of 2009-2010 the Polar Vortex weakened due to higher geopotential heights over the Arctic, allowing cold air to spill southwards and be replaced by warm air moving poleward, a warm Arctic –cold continent climate pattern. One
indicator of a weak Polar Vortex is the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index which in December 2009 through February 2010 had its most negative value (weak vortex) in 145 years of record.

Meteorological attribution to these sub-Arctic events is difficult. Certainly random chaos in the development of weather patterns can produce such extreme events. There is a potential impact, however, from Arctic regions where heat stored in the ocean in sea-ice-free and thin ice areas has been released to the lower atmosphere during autumn. One would not expect a sub-Arctic impact in every year or the in the same locations every year. The Barents Sea seems to be part of the Arctic wide warming pattern, while northern Europe is in the subArctic high climate variability zone (click here for more information).

Phytoplankton Off Coast of Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, Russia – September 23rd, 2012

71.7N 46.6E

September 23rd, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Phytoplankton

Russia – September 3rd, 2012

A phytoplankton bloom was still flourishing in the Barents Sea in early September (click here for previous images). Here, the green and blue, paisley patterns of the bloom can be seen off the coast of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago (upper right). The bright blue color may be indicative of a coccolithophore bloom.

Phytoplankton Bloom Along Norwegian and Russian Coasts

69.4N 32.9E

September 17th, 2012 Category: Phytoplankton

Russia – August 31st, 2012

The brighter, green and blue swirls in the otherwise dark waters of the Barents Sea indicate the presence of a large phytoplankton bloom off the coast of Norway and Russia (click here for previous images). The bright blue color may indicate a coccolithophore bloom.

Swirls of Color from Barents Sea Phytoplankton Bloom

69.4N 43.8E

September 16th, 2012 Category: Phytoplankton

Russia – August 31st, 2012

Brilliant shades of blue and green explode across the Barents Sea and along the shoreline by the Norway-Russia border Sdue to the presence of a massive bloom of phytoplankton. Such blooms are common in the area each August (click here for previous images), although relatively clear views such as this one are rare since the Barents Sea is cloud-covered roughly 80 percent of the time in summer.


Paisley Patterns of Phytoplankton in Barents Sea

69.7N 32.4E

September 13th, 2012 Category: Phytoplankton

Russia – August 30th, 2012

The green and blue paisley patterns in the Barents Sea north of Norway (left) and Russia (right) are caused by a phytoplankton bloom  (click here for previous images). Some of the darker green coloring close to the shoreline, however, is likely due to an influx of sediments from rivers flowing across northern Europe.