The life in the Southern ocean, especially the life that is found on the bottom of the sea, the benthos, and close to the land mass, is very unique. In the Antarctic, we find giant sea spiders not seen anywhere else.  These are creatures looking like a cross between a spider and a crab, but are neither. Maybe a few crabs at a remote and cold place most of us will never visit do not seem like a scary event, but science sees it as the warning it really is.  As our planet changes with the climate change caused by human pollution, the effects will be hard to predict and fundamental.


This paradoxical phenomenon was thoroughly studied by a team of scientist working out of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.  What they found is not exactly as heartening as “sea ice expansion” sounds, but it is fascinating nonetheless. The team of scientists analyzed satellite data and buoy observations for how much salt was in the water, along with how warm it was for the period 1985 to 2010.  They then compared that data to the output of a coupled global climate model that simulated how losing 250 gigatones of melt water from the Antarctic ice sheet each year would effect conditions in the surrounding area.
In short, this study presents observations indicating that melt water from Antactica’s ice shelves accumulate in a cool and fresh water surface layer, shielding the surface ocean from deeper waters that are melting the ice shelves from below.  With a relatively thick top layer of cool water, the sea ice around Antarctica is now increasing quite rapidly without the hindrance of warming water that is seen elsewhere in the ocean thanks to climate change.


Large isopods, reminiscent of giant pill bugs, find their place in a, usually, crab and lobster free environment.




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