The impact of ice
Beyond shipping and oil and gas exploration, ice ridges hold implications for everything else in the Arctic, from animal life, to the way global warming is altering the earth’s climate. Seals den in the air pockets that form in ice ridges and because seals are a food source for polar bears, they too are found near ridges. With ice ridges forming faster and more frequently and colliding more often, as the polar ice caps melts, that further endangers seal habitat and polar bear food sources, scientists believe. Scientists also know sea ice, like the roving ridges being studied at the University of Manitoba, capture carbon dioxide from the air and drive it to ocean floor. But understanding what happens afterward is one of climate science’s new frontiers. The gas is anything but sedentary. It moves constantly, shifting along the floor and capable of transversing the planet, a dynamic full of potent implications, said Tim Papakyriakou, an associate professor in Envionment and Geography and expert in microclimatology.