The Arctic regions continue to melt as Earth’s temperatures rise, and scientists from across the globe are strengthening their efforts to study the frigid regions and better understand global warming.
Headed by the University of Washington, a group of international researchers are planning to monitor the Arctic on an unprecedented scale. The scientists will be planting sensors under ice sheets in the Beaufort Sea in order to both understand and track the melting of ice their.
“This has never been done at this level, over such a large area and for such a long period of time… We’re really trying to resolve the physics over the course of an entire melt season,” said Craig Lee, the leader of the research team.
The melt season starts in the summer and continues until September. During those months, the ice will melt the fastest, making it the perfect time for the scientists to monitor the ice sheets.
The main goal of the study is to see if global warming has any impact on the melting of the ice sheets. Researchers will be focusing on a large amount of open water to the south of the sheets, trying to see if it is getting warmer and melting the ice. They will also be studying the affects of wind and waves on the ice sheets to see if they could be causing them to break.
“Increased open water likely means more wind-driven mixing,” said Luc Rainville, from the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory. “Similarly surface waves will be able to travel further in open water, gaining height and power. Once these waves meet the ice they contribute to breaking the ice edge.”
By studying the Arctic regions, researchers hope to have a better understanding of the exact impacts of global warming, and if anything can be done to stop it.