The University of Massachusetts Amherst

In Pictures

Arctic Spill: New Data on Melting Sea Ice Theory

Pictured above are the last remains of the formerly extensive ice off the coast of Ellesmere Island, Arctic Canada, pictured in July 2002. Climate scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution propose that massive amounts of melting sea ice in the Arctic drained into the North Atlantic and disrupted climate-steering currents, thus playing an important role in causing past abrupt climate change after the last Ice Age. Melting of this ice led to freshwater flooding into the seas near Greenland, Norway and Iceland between 13,000 and 8,000 years ago. Their experiments show that there was enough cold, fresh water spilling into the sea to disrupt ocean salt-temperature circulation patterns and trigger abrupt climate cooling. Read More.

Photo credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.