What happens in the Beaufort Sea? It is the largest freshwater reserve in the Arctic Ocean. Recently it’s up 40%, new research shows. And what would happen if all these reserves in the Atlantic were released? This could seriously affect the climate balance on the planet. Yes, there is a risk of fresh water in the Arctic.
Scientists from the University of Washington led the study. They performed advanced simulations to understand the consequences of this scenario. Fresh water from the Beaufort Sea flows into the Labrador Sea. It goes through the Canadian archipelago, not the wider sea passages that connect to the seas of Northern Europe. What would happen to a change in winds in the region? This could cause this freshwater to get into the Labrador Sea faster.
“If the winds become weaker in the future and fresh water is released, this would have consequences. This large amount of water would have a major impact on the Labrador Sea region. This was emphasized by Jiaxu Zhang, lead author of the study. quoted by Science Daily.
The finding has a direct impact on marine life in the Labrador Sea. Arctic water is cooler and rich in nutrients. This displacement of fresh water could also affect larger ocean currents. They would have a bigger impact.
‘A freshwater release of this size in the subpolar North Atlantic would be significant. It could affect a critical circulation pattern called South Atlantic Return Circulation. It has a significant impact on the climate of the northern hemisphere », explained Wilbert Weijer, co-author of the study.
Within the investigationThe scientists drew on a past event that occurred between 1983 and 1995. They simulated the circulation of the ocean by tracking the spread of freshwater from the Beaufort Sea. The volume of fresh water currently present in this sea is more than 23,300 cubic kilometers. That is roughly twice as much as in the case examined.
The threat of freshwater in the Arctic is real. If released in the North Atlantic, the impact could be great. The exact consequences are still unknown. “However, they could destroy the delicate climatic equilibrium of the global climate.”