Catlin Arctic team brave thin ice and polar bears to monitor acid oceans

Scientists to set up ice base in northern Canada to examine impact of ocean acidification on the region’s animals and plants

Scientists and explorers will brave polar bears, thin ice and frostbite within the next fortnight as they embark on an Arctic expedition to examine the impact of an acidifying ocean on the region’s animals and plants.

The Catlin Arctic Survey will set up an “ice base” in northern Canada for the scientists while a separate team of adventurers will undertake a 500km trek across sea ice off Greenland. Both will investigate the impact of ocean acidification on marine life, while the explorers will also measure variations in sea ice thickness. Last year’s Catlin Arctic Survey showed the Arctic ice was thinner than expected.

The expedition will also be the first to take water samples from the sea ice in winter, as all previous Arctic measurements have been taken from ships in open water in summer.

As well as taking water samples, the scientists will collect plankton, sea butterflies, a type of swimming sea snail, and other local marine life and examine their reaction to increasing levels of acidity and also test how much CO2 passes through sea ice from the air into the sea.

Adam Vaughan,, 25 February 2010. Full article.

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