The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is a system of ocean currents that has an essential role in Earth's climate, redistributing heat and influencing the carbon cycle1, 2. The AMOC has been shown to be weakening in recent years 1 ; this decline may reflect decadal-scale variability in convection in the Labrador Sea, but short observational datasets preclude a longer-term perspective on the modern state and variability of Labrador Sea convection and the AMOC1, 3-5. Here we provide several lines of palaeo-oceanographic evidence that Labrador Sea deep convection and the AMOC have been anomalously weak over the past 150 years or so (since the end of the Little Ice Age, LIA, approximately AD 1850) compared with the preceding 1,500 years. Our palaeoclimate reconstructions indicate that the transition occurred either as a predominantly abrupt shift towards the end of the LIA, or as a more gradual, continued decline over the past 150 years; this ambiguity probably arises from non-AMOC influences on the various proxies or from the different sensitivities of these proxies to individual components of the AMOC. We suggest that enhanced freshwater fluxes from the Arctic and Nordic seas towards the end of the LIA-sourced from melting glaciers and thickened sea ice that developed earlier in the LIA-weakened Labrador Sea convection and the AMOC. The lack of a subsequent recovery may have resulted from hysteresis or from twentieth-century melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet 6 . Our results suggest that recent decadal variability in Labrador Sea convection and the AMOC has occurred during an atypical, weak background state. Future work should aim to constrain the roles of internal climate variability and early anthropogenic forcing in the AMOC weakening described here.
An electromechanical drill with titanium barrels was used to recover a 63.7 m long firn core from Devon Island Ice Cap, Nunavut, Canada, representing 155 years of precipitation. The core was processed and analysed at the Geological Survey of Canada by following strict clean procedures for measurements of Pb and Cd at concentrations at or below the pg g(-1) level. This paper describes the effectiveness of the titanium drill with respect to contamination during ice core retrieval and evaluates sample-processing procedures in laboratories. The results demonstrate that: (1) ice cores retrieved with this titanium drill are of excellent quality with metal contamination one to four orders of magnitude less than those retrieved with conventional drills; (2) the core cleaning and sampling protocols used were effective, contamination-free, and adequate for analysis of the metals (Pb and Cd) at low pg g(-1) levels; and (3) results from 489 firn core samples analysed in this study are comparable with published data from other sites in the Arctic, Greenland and the Antarctic.
Interacting forces of climate change and globalization are transforming the Arctic. Triggered by a non-linear shift in sea ice, this transformation has unleashed mounting interest in opportunities to exploit the region's natural resources as well as growing concern about environmental, economic, and political issues associated with such efforts. This article addresses the implications of this transformation for governance, identifies limitations of existing arrangements, and explores changes needed to meet new demands. It advocates the development of an Arctic regime complex featuring flexibility across issues and adaptability over time along with an enhanced role for the Arctic Council both in conducting policy-relevant assessments and in promoting synergy in interactions among the elements of the emerging Arctic regime complex. The emphasis throughout is on maximizing the fit between the socioecological features of the Arctic and the character of the governance arrangements needed to steer the Arctic toward a sustainable future.
Cites: Science. 2006 Aug 4;313(5787):617-816888124
From July to August 2010, the IBRV ARAON journeyed to the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean to monitor bacterial variation in Arctic summer surface-waters, and temperature, salinity, fluorescence, and nutrient concentrations were determined during the ice-melting season. Among the measured physicochemical parameters, we observed a strong negative correlation between temperature and salinity, and consequently hypothesized that the melting ice decreased water salinity. The bacterial community compositions of 15 samples, includicng seawater, sea-ice, and melting pond water, were determined using a pyrosequencing approach and were categorized into three habitats: (1) surface seawater, (2) ice core, and (3) melting pond. Analysis of these samples indicated the presence of local bacterial communities; a deduction that was further corroborated by the discovery of seawater- and ice-specific bacterial phylotypes. In all samples, the Alphaproteobacteria, Flavobacteria, and Gammaproteobacteria taxa composed the majority of the bacterial communities. Among these, Alphaproteobacteria was the most abundant and present in all samples, and its variation differed among the habitats studied. Linear regression analysis suggested that changes in salinity could affect the relative proportion of Alphaproteobacteria in the surface water. In addition, the species-sorting model was applied to evaluate the population dynamics and environmental heterogeneity in the bacterial communities of surface mixed layer in the Arctic Ocean during sea-ice melting.
Cites: Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Feb;68(2):505-1811823184
Cites: Nature. 2002 Dec 19-26;420(6917):806-1012490947
Cites: Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 Aug;70(8):4921-915294832
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Jan 17;103(3):626-3116407148
Cites: Science. 2006 Mar 10;311(5766):1461-416527980
Cites: Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Jul;72(7):5069-7216820507
Cites: Mol Ecol. 2007 Feb;16(4):867-8017284217
Cites: Ecology. 2007 Sep;88(9):2154-6117918394
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Dec 18;104(51):20404-918077371
The rate of global-mean sea-level rise since 1900 has varied over time, but the contributing factors are still poorly understood1. Previous assessments found that the summed contributions of ice-mass loss, terrestrial water storage and thermal expansion of the ocean could not be reconciled with observed changes in global-mean sea level, implying that changes in sea level or some contributions to those changes were poorly constrained2,3. Recent improvements to observational data, our understanding of the main contributing processes to sea-level change and methods for estimating the individual contributions, mean another attempt at reconciliation is warranted. Here we present a probabilistic framework to reconstruct sea level since 1900 using independent observations and their inherent uncertainties. The sum of the contributions to sea-level change from thermal expansion of the ocean, ice-mass loss and changes in terrestrial water storage is consistent with the trends and multidecadal variability in observed sea level on both global and basin scales, which we reconstruct from tide-gauge records. Ice-mass loss-predominantly from glaciers-has caused twice as much sea-level rise since 1900 as has thermal expansion. Mass loss from glaciers and the Greenland Ice Sheet explains the high rates of global sea-level rise during the 1940s, while a sharp increase in water impoundment by artificial reservoirs is the main cause of the lower-than-average rates during the 1970s. The acceleration in sea-level rise since the 1970s is caused by the combination of thermal expansion of the ocean and increased ice-mass loss from Greenland. Our results reconcile the magnitude of observed global-mean sea-level rise since 1900 with estimates based on the underlying processes, implying that no additional processes are required to explain the observed changes in sea level since 1900.
Runoff from glaciers and ice sheets has been acknowledged as a potential source of bioavailable dissolved organic matter (DOM) to downstream ecosystems. This source may become increasingly significant as glacial melt rates increase in response to future climate change. Recent work has identified significant concentrations of bioavailable carbon and iron in Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) runoff. The flux characteristics and export of N-rich DOM are poorly understood. Here, we employed electrospray ionization (ESI) coupled to Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) to determine the elemental compositions of DOM molecules in supraglacial water and subglacial runoff from a large GrIS outlet glacier. We provide the first detailed temporal analysis of the molecular composition of DOM exported over a full melt season. We find that DOM pools in supraglacial and subglacial runoff are compositionally diverse and that N-rich material is continuously exported throughout the melt season, as the snowline retreats further inland. Identification of protein-like compounds and a high proportion of N-rich DOM, accounting for 27-41% of the DOM molecules identified by ESI FT-ICR MS, may suggest a microbial provenance and high bioavailability of glacially exported DOM to downstream microbial communities.
There is a wealth of studies of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) in surface water and biota of the Arctic Ocean. Still, there are no observation-based assessments of PCB distribution and inventories in and between the major Arctic Ocean compartments. Here, the first water column distribution of PCBs in the central Arctic Ocean basins (Nansen, Amundsen, and Makarov) is presented, demonstrating nutrient-like vertical profiles with 5-10 times higher concentrations in the intermediate and deep water masses than in surface waters. The consistent vertical profiles in all three Arctic Ocean basins likely reflect buildup of PCBs transported from the shelf seas and from dissolution and/or mineralization of settling particles. Combined with measurement data on PCBs in other Arctic Ocean compartments collected over the past decade, the total Arctic Ocean inventory of ?7PCB was estimated to 182 ± 40 t (±1 standard error of the mean), with sediments (144 ± 40 t), intermediate (5 ± 1 t) and deep water masses (30 ± 2 t) storing 98% of the PCBs in the Arctic Ocean. Further, we used hydrographic and carbon cycle parametrizations to assess the main pathways of PCBs into and out of the Arctic Ocean during the 20th century. River discharge appeared to be the major pathway for PCBs into the Arctic Ocean with 115 ± 11 t, followed by ocean currents (52 ± 17 t) and net atmospheric deposition (30 ± 28 t). Ocean currents provided the only important pathway out of the Arctic Ocean, with an estimated cumulative flux of 22 ± 10 t. The observation-based inventory of ?7PCB of 182 ± 40 t is consistent with the contemporary inventory based on cumulative fluxes for ?7PCB of 173 ± 36 t. Information on the concentration and distribution of PCBs in the deeper compartments of the Arctic Ocean improves our understanding of the large-scale fate of POPs in the Arctic and may also provide a means to test and improve models used to assess the fate of organic pollutants in the Arctic.
Radionuclide transfer parameters and dose-rates for an adult ringed seal from Svalbard have been determined based on empirical and estimated tissue activity concentrations and detailed dietary and habitat information. Whole-body equivalent concentration factors determined for anthropogenic radionuclides ranged from 10(1) ((90)Sr) to 10(2) ((137)Cs, (238)Pu and (239,240)Pu), while natural radionuclides ranged from 10(2) ((210)Pb) to 10(4) ((210)Po). Employing a dietary composition of 40% fish, 40% zooplankton and 20% benthic invertebrates, a whole-body biological half-life of 29 days was derived for (137)Cs. A total dose-rate of approximately 0.19microGyh(-1) (1.7mGya(-1)) was derived for an adult ringed seal; this dose-rate is virtually entirely attributable to the internal components of (210)Po and (40)K. The dose-rates associated with the presence of anthropogenically derived radionuclides in the present assessment fall many orders of magnitude below the dose-rates at which any biological effects would be expected.