North Pole-2015 data to help update climate change forecasts
Researchers at the North Pole- 2015 drifting station have obtained unique data on the state of Arctic sea-ice formations, water bodies and atmosphere, said Vladimir Sokolov, Head of the High-Latitude Arctic Expedition of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.
"Station experts closely studied all these environments during the entire four month drift. The unique data that was obtained is currently being analyzed," he said.
This data makes it possible to update global climate change forecasting models that are being widely used everywhere, because the Arctic climate influences weather processes all over the world, Mr. Sokolov said.
The Arctic is generally getting warmer, Mr. Sokolov added. For example, the area of sea-ice formations and their thickness have been reduced by half at the end of the summer season. "This change is extremely substantial because the Arctic no longer serves as the ultimate global refrigerator, and this factor has changed atmospheric and ocean circulation," Mr. Sokolov said.
The station crew also monitored animal populations and obtained data of crucial importance, he added. Narwhals who have never before ventured above the 82nd Parallel were sighted at 86 degrees northern latitude. Biotic observations show that new plankton species have appeared in areas previously devoid of it. "This is linked with changes in the Atlantic Ocean's circulation and rising water temperatures in areas where the station drifted," Vladimir Sokolov said.