New from NPR! 北極冰山變薄 引發大量海藻滋生
Melt ponds on the Ocean. Picture from wikipedia.
Thinner Arctic Ice
Massive Algae Bloom Sparks
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Scientists on an expedition進行探險 off the coast of Alaska found something they had long thought was impossible. Beneath two, three, even four feet of ice in the frozen Chukchi Sea北極的楚科奇海, they found algae海藻(單數為alga通常多以複數形式出現). Not just a little but a bloom(原意是開花，這邊指的是很大一片的面積) that ran at least 60 miles wide. The team just published its findings發現 in the journal Science.
Here to tell us why it's a big deal is the man who led the expedition, Kevin Arrigo, professor of environmental earth systems science at
. Professor Arrigo, thanks for talking with us. Stanford University
KEVIN ARRIGO: Thanks for having me.
CORNISH: So why is this so surprising?
ARRIGO: Well, it's surprising because ice is a really good barrier組隔/隔離物 to light. Generally we assume whenever there's ice on the ocean, there's not going to be any light underneath it and plants can't grow. Clearly that's not the case in the place where we studied in the
. Chukchi Sea
CORNISH: So is this a new phenomenon現象(複數為phenomena) or just newly discovered?
ARRIGO: We don't really know. We do know that in the place where we discovered it, it is new. Twenty, 30 years ago, if we sampled that same area the ice would have been probably nine, 10 feet thick. Today, the ice is a lot thinner. And not only is it a lot thinner, it's also covered in melt ponds被融池覆蓋住(在極晝的陽光照射下，覆蓋在北冰洋海冰上的積雪漸漸融化，在潔白的冰面上形成許多大大小小、造型各異的水窪，其學名叫“冰上融池”。). And what the melt ponds do is they allow lots more light to be transmitted傳送 into the ice. It makes the ice a lot less reflective and a lot more light penetrates穿透 into the water so that the phytoplankton浮游植物 underneath can grow.
CORNISH: So, help us understand this ecosystem生態系統 then. I mean, is this a good thing or a bad thing that this phytoplankton is growing under the ice?
ARRIGO: It's not a really a good or a bad thing. It's a different thing and that's sort of the important part. It's going to be really dependent how the system responds to that particular change.
CORNISH: And when you mean system responding, it means what kinds of animals will be eating more of this, eating less of this, whether it'll hurt other species - that sort of thing?
Well, that's right. You know, there's a certain amount of food that gets produced in places like the Chukchi Sea and there's a limited amount of nutrients養分非常有限, and so there's only so much to go around沒多少食物的資源可以分給所有的動物. There's a lot of animals that feed off the bottom底棲類海洋動物(在海床上). And most of the stuff that's going to be produced under the ice is probably going to sink to the bottom. So, things like walruses海象 and gray whales灰鯨, they feed off攝取食物 of things at the bottom and they'll probably do really well.
Other animals that feed more in the water - seabirds that eat small fish - they may actually do worse under this situation, because more of the food is going to be going to the bottom feeders, as opposed to them.
Do we understand yet what this means? I mean, what is the kind of take away學習到的事(經驗/教訓) from this discovery?
ARRIGO: Well, I think there's a few take away messages. First of all, for me at least and for my group, it's really gratifying高興/滿意to know that, you know, we can work in systems for 20 years and we can go out and we can be surprised. And this was a really surprising finding. This is one of the things where if someone had asked me about beforehand之前, I would've told him it was impossible. And as we were seeing it, we were convinced that there was something wrong, that our instruments were wrong, this couldn't be here.
The other thing is, though, it's really important for us to understand how this earth we live in is going to change in the face of面臨 ongoing changes in climate, and other things that are going on. We got to go to those places is that are most sensitive to those changes. The Arctic北極(南極為The Antarctic ) is one of them.
And I think seeing something like this that was totally unexpected沒有預期的 and totally unanticipated沒有意料到的, I think is a real wake-up call提醒/警示 for us that we really need to get a better handle on更善於因應 how these systems work today, so that we can understand better how they might respond in the future.
CORNISH: Kevin, thank you.
ARRIGO: Oh, you're welcome. Thank you very much.
CORNISH: Kevin Arrigo is professor of environmental earth systems science at
. Stanford University
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