The im­pact of ice

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS & LIFE -

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.

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