Currents under the sea ice

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The blanket of ice covering the Arctic Ocean has an isolating function: it shelters the water below it from the atmosphere like a huge blanket. That has consequences...


In the ice-filled Arctic Ocean, the upper ocean currents are considerably weaker than in the Nordic Seas or in the North Atlantic. This animation shows the strength of the ocean currents at 100m below the surface (in color). It also shows the simultaneous ice cover over the Ocean, between January and December of 2002 (transparent area). With the decreasing amount of polar ice coverage, the strength of the currents in the Ocean is likely to increase. This could lead to even larger amounts of sea ice flowing out of the Arctic, which in turn would lead to an acceleration of sea ice depletion.