In March 2011, the start of the expedition, which aims to understand how the melting of the Arctic sea ice and how it can threaten humanity, reports BBC News.
This year's Catlin Arctic Survey expedition will focus on studies of the water layer, located just below the floating ice. Arctic summer ice is melting faster than predicted by many computer models. The results of the expedition will help to clarify the prognosis for the future of the region and will show how you can be considered justifiable fears that the Gulf Stream may stop, leading to a strong cooling in Western Europe.
"For example, changes in the Arctic can be judged on the world's climate. Then talk not just about polar bears, but the future of Europe and North America, "- says Simon Boksall from the National Oceanography Centre (National Oceanography Centre) University of Southampton (University of Southampton), UK.
In early March 2011, 4 researchers in 10 weeks will be walking across the ice from the geographic North Pole to Greenland. They will make regular stops to drill holes in the floating ice, immerse in water measuring devices and collect data on temperature, salinity and velocity of water flow. "We will explore the water layer thickness of 200 m between the ice and the deep ocean beneath it, — says Dr. Boksall. — Our hypothesis is that the water as if caught in a trap, and then isolates the cold ice from the warm salt water at the bottom. But in fact it can drop down faster than we expect, which speeds up the melting of the Arctic ice. "
"Even in an era of space exploration of the Earth" antiquated "way — to send people to the ice to take measurements by hand — is the only reliable way to do this type of work" — said Mr. Boksall.
The results of the expedition is very important for predicting the future of Arctic ice. Area and volume of summer sea ice is constantly decreasing, the last four of the summer there is a reduction in the size of the ice cover, which is only predicted for the second half of the century. "If you mix ice and deep water occurs quickly, this may explain this trend and help to update the model," — says Dr. Boksall.
North Atlantic Gulf Stream brings warm water from the tropics to the northern latitudes, where the give away part of its heat to the air, making the climate of Great Britain and neighboring countries warmer than average for this latitude. In colder northern and western regions of the UK winds blow the water molecules out of the sea, cooling it and making it more salty. In cold periods formed a layer of ice, which also affects the brining water. As a result, cooling is more dense salt water sinks and moves south to the depth of the ocean, as a part of the global thermohaline circulation, which is formed due to inhomogeneous distribution of temperature and salinity in the ocean.
Accordingly, the warmer and less salty water is less lowered, and thus, can turn this kind of oceanic conveyor. The art form of the consequences of such a failure were presented in the disaster film "The Day After Tomorrow," and they will be very serious for the entire planet, from the sharp fall in temperatures in Europe to strengthen the monsoon in Asia, in North America will increase the number of storms, hurricanes and tornadoes. Recent work by the National Oceanography Centre have shown that if the Gulf Stream can be greatly reduced, these changes will come very quickly.
On the other hand, the Daily Mail recently reported: fear that global warming could slow the Gulf Stream and cause an ice age in the UK, are unfounded. The data obtained from NASA satellites (NASA) in 2002-2009, does not establish that the rate of the Gulf Stream slowed down over the past 20 years. According to the researchers, the behavior of the Gulf Stream does happen short-term changes, but they are part of a natural cycle, so that the long-term trend remains stable.
However, while the four members of the expedition Catlin Arctic Survey will make their way through a sea of ice, another group of researchers will break camp on the island Ellef-Ringnes (Ellef Ringnes), Canada, to take samples of sea water and ice, and check them out on colored dissolved organic matter (coloured dissolved organic materials — CDOM), which affect the absorption of sunlight ocean water. The results of the campaign will be published in the first half of 2012.