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Virus delay, early ice melt challenge Arctic science mission

Virus delay, early ice melt challenge Arctic science mission

Technology
Dozens of scientists are sitting in quarantine, waiting for permission to sail forth and capture a crucial moment in the polar calendar that’s essential to their year-long Arctic research missionBy FRANK JORDANS Associated PressMay 10, 2020, 8:03 AM4 min read4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleBERLIN -- They prepared for icy cold and trained to be on the watch for polar bears, but a pandemic just wasn't part of the program. Now dozens of scientists are waiting in quarantine for the all-clear to join a year-long Arctic research mission aimed at improving the models used for forecasting climate change, just as the expedition reaches a crucial phase. For a while, the international mission looked like it might have to be called off, as country after country we
Record ozone hole disappears over the Arctic

Record ozone hole disappears over the Arctic

Technology
The largest ever hole that has been detected in the ozone layer over the Arctic has closed just weeks after its sudden formation.It reached its peak size in March, and, according to scientists working at the Copernicus' Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), the hole wasn't man-made. Instead it was the result of a particularly strong polar vortex over the Arctic. It also isn't tied to a reduction in pollution associated with the coronavirus lockdown."COVID-19 and the associate lockdowns probably had nothing to do with this," the researchers said, explaining it had no relation to changes in air quality. ...
Arctic bird turns down immune system to conserve energy in winter

Arctic bird turns down immune system to conserve energy in winter

Science
April 28 (UPI) -- To survive the Arctic's frigid temperatures, animals must use their energy efficiently. According to a new study, one Arctic bird species, the Svalbard rock ptarmigan, utilizes a previously unknown energy-saving method. No bird lives closer to the North Pole than the the Svalbard rock ptarmigan. To better understand how the bird species survives the extreme conditions, researchers analyzed changes in the bird's immune system during the winter and late spring. "We have discovered that the birds reduce how much they spend on keeping their own immune defense system up and running during the five months of the year when it is dark around the clock, probably to save energy," Andreas Nord, researcher at Lund University in Sweden, said in a news release. "Instead, they use tho...
Pandemic forces Arctic expedition to take 3-week break

Pandemic forces Arctic expedition to take 3-week break

Technology
Organizers of a year-long international Arctic science expedition say they have found a way to keep going despite difficulties caused by the pandemic lockdownByThe Associated PressApril 24, 2020, 10:08 AM2 min read2 min readBERLIN -- Organizers of a year-long international Arctic science expedition say they have found a way to keep going despite difficulties caused by the pandemic lockdown, but it will require a three-week break in the mission. Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Ocean Research said Friday that the expedition ship RV Polarstern will leave its position in the high Arctic, breaking through the surrounding sea ice to rendezvous with two German vessels bringing fresh supplies and crew. The maneuver is necessary because travel restrictions imposed to prevent the s
Complex causes behind Arctic greening, researchers say

Complex causes behind Arctic greening, researchers say

Science
Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The greening of the Arctic is one of the most visible effects of climate change, but new research suggests the reasons for the phenomena are surprisingly varied and complex. As satellite images have revealed, snow is melting earlier each year, allowing the plants that comprise the Arctic tundra to put out leaves earlier in the spring. Plants are getting thicker and taller, and vegetation is expanding into previously barren pars of the Arctic. Early efforts to document the phenomena were relatively crude, but new satellite and drone technologies have helped scientists analyze Arctic greening in greater detail. "New technologies including sensors on drones, planes and satellites, are enabling scientists to track emerging patterns of greening found within satellite pixels t...