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BIOS scientists to swap Bermuda for the Arctic to study climate change

Becky Garley, BIOS research specialist (right), walks on the Arctic ice floe in 2010. (Photograph from the Currents newsletter)

Two scientists at the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Science are set to leave Bermuda’s warm waters for the Arctic as part of an international study.

According to the November edition of BIOS’s Currents newsletter, Becky Garley and Matt Enright, BIOS research specialists, will take part in the Synoptic Arctic Survey in September 2022 in an effort to learn more about the impact of climate change.

The study will include the collection of a wide range of data about the Arctic waters, including oxygen levels, acidity, ocean life, ocean circulation and pollution.

Nick Bate, BIOS senior scientist and director of research, said the collected data would be shared among national and international partners.

Dr Bate added: “This will allow us to get a good idea of how the entire Arctic is functioning at the present, as well as how the region is responding to climate change, including warming and increasing loss of summertime sea-ice.”

Ms Garley – who has made two previous trips to the Arctic for research – said: “I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to see such a unique, beautiful landscape and its wildlife, that so few people are able to experience in their lifetime.

“The Arctic is particularly special because of the rapidly disappearing ice due to climate change.”

Ms Garley first travelled to the Arctic in 2010 as part of Nasa’s multiyear Impacts of Climate on the Eco-Systems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment mission.

She returned in 2012 with the Russian-American Census of the Arctic, a long-term census of the Bering and Chuckchi Seas conducted jointly by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Ms Garley added: “I enjoy the Arctic. Looking at the ice is so much more interesting than the open ocean, and they stop the ship at the ice floes so people can get off the ship and run around – safely, of course, in our colourful survival suits.”

While the Arctic is far from Bermuda, Dr Bates said conditions in the region had an impact on Bermuda’s waters because reduced salinity recorded through the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series study is linked to melted ice far to the north.

Dr Bates said: “The freshening of seawater in the Labrador Current flows past BATS five or six years later.

“What happens in the Arctic has an impact here.”

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Published December 10, 2021 at 7:43 am (Updated December 10, 2021 at 7:43 am)

BIOS scientists to swap Bermuda for the Arctic to study climate change

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