A new threat to the Arctic ecosystem has been revealed in a report prepared by researcher Jim Thomson of the University of Washington. The report was co-prepared by researcher W. Erick Rogers from the Naval Research Laboratory at Stennis Space Center at Mississippi. In the report, Thomson had made an observation of huge waves reported a storm in the Arctic in the year 2012. The highest waves reported then were 29 feet high. The research report was recently published in the journal Geophysical Researchers Letters.
Currently, waves higher than 16 feet have been reported that they could pose a threat to the ecosystem of the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea, as per an analysis by the researchers. The year in which 29 feet high waves were reported was the same year the ice retaining area was approximately 1,000 miles but in the current study, the cover retains to a lesser figure.
This rapid depletion in the ice retains is hinting towards an ice free summer in the Arctic. Other concerns were raised because of this; the researchers added that these swells are based on common predictions of the reducing seasonal ice cover. The major concern over depletion is as the wind start to grow, the high waves will become frequent and these waves will be the reasons for breaking up the ice more easily and thus speeding up the process of ice depletion in the Arctic.
Waves breaking on the shore could also affect the coastlines, where melting permafrost is making shores vulnerable to erosion.
“Almost all of the casualties and losses at sea are because of stormy conditions, and breaking waves are often the culprit,” study researcher Jim Thompson said. He will be joining a team of international researchers this summer that are putting dozens of sensors in the Arctic Ocean to better understand the physics of the sea-ice retreat.
Report: High Waves Pose Threat to Arctic Ecosystem