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Massive algae bloom raises crucial questions in the Arctic discovery

Arctic ice

NASA has revealed after a year long expedition in the Arctic region, that algae which produces much of the oxygen and sucks carbon dioxide was in a century long tailspin.

This discovery of a massive algae bloom finds the forest of algae is growing beneath the Artic ice.It was the result of the research by the scientists of NASA, an astounding new discovery, an ominous report on world’s phytoplankton.

A research by the Canadian team commented in the Science journal “Nature”, that the phyto plankton is vanishing at a rate of about 1% a year for the previous 100 years.

"A global decline of this magnitude? It's quite shocking," Daniel Boyce, Dalhousie University Marine Scientist reported to one of the media.
Phytoplankton are the primary part of the food chain-- “is key to the whole ecosystem," he said. "In terms of climate changes, the effect on fisheries, we don't know exactly what these effects will be," he added.

"The question becomes, if we take our current finding ... does it change that global picture," she said. "That's one of the things the science team is going to have to look at. ... It most certainly changes what we thought was happening in the Arctic,” one of the researcher said.

Now the scientists also are looking at what this discovery could mean for global warming.

Phytoplankton is carbon dioxide suckers. “Plants need carbon dioxide," Bontempi said, "the major greenhouse gas." So this would be good news in terms of global warming, yes? "It's premature to say if it's good news or bad news,” she added. First scientists must get their arms around this discovery which has been likened to finding a rain forest growing beneath the Arctic ice -- an occurrence scientists "never ever could have anticipated in a million years.”

Earlier research showed that phytoplankton was disappearing. But it was not known that these are growing. "But you cannot see through ice," Bontempi said. "We had ice as thick as a kindergartener is tall."

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy, carrying researchers for the Icescape expedition in summer 2011, had traveled "62 or 72 miles into the ice pack" before stumbling over this phenomenon, she noted. “So, yes, the phytoplankton could have been growing for a long time”, Bontempi stated, which she finds "fascinating…………things are happening on this planet that we never knew existed." Those were the words by Paula Bontempi, NASA's Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program Manager in Washington.

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