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Climate Change Affects Bering Sea Image 3
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Climate Change Affects Bering Sea (Image 3)

July 28, 2010
A conductivity, temperature, depth (CTD) sensor is deployed by researchers on the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy. CTD sensors give scientists a precise and comprehensive charting of the distribution and variation of water temperature, salinity, and density that helps to understand how the oceans affect life.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other federal agencies supported the Western Shelf-Basin Interactions (SBI) research project, which conducted a series of research cruises to observe changes in the carbon balance of the offshore areas of the Alaskan Arctic and their effects on the food chain.

Physical changes such as rising air and seawater temperatures and decreasing seasonal ice cover appear to be the cause of a series of biological changes in the northern Bering Sea ecosystem. Changes such as these could have long-range and irreversible effects on the animals that live there and on the people who depend on them for their livelihoods.

A team of U.S. and Canadian researchers used data from long-term observations of physical properties and biological communities to conclude that previously documented physical changes in the Arctic in recent years are profoundly affecting Arctic life.