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Polynyas and climate change: a view to the future
Smith Jr., W.O.; Barber, D.G. (2007). Polynyas and climate change: a view to the future, in: Smith Jr., W.O. et al. (Ed.) Polynyas: windows to the world. Elsevier Oceanography Series, 74: pp. 411-419
In: Smith Jr., W.O.; Barber, D.G. (Ed.) (2007). Polynyas: windows to the world. Elsevier Oceanography Series, 74. Elsevier: Amsterdam. xv, 458 pp., more
In: Elsevier Oceanography Series. Elsevier: Oxford; New york; Amsterdam. ISSN 0422-9894, more

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Dynamical Oceanography DYN [131847]

Keywords
    Climatic changes; Polynyas; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Smith Jr., W.O.
  • Barber, D.G.

Abstract
    There is no longer doubt that the climate of polar systems is changing, but the changes are far from uniform in time and space. Similarly, the changes of climate give rise to direct and indirect alterations of processes within polynyas. Arctic systems are undergoing the largest, most rapid change, and it is expected that polynyas within the Arctic will largely respond by a decrease in the duration of existence each season. This in turn will increase the maritime nature of Arctic polynyas, and simultaneously reduce their polar features. Antarctic polynyas might be expected to have a larger gradient of responses because the direction and magnitude of climate change is not uniform. It is suggested that changes in hemispheric characteristics of deep water will result in substantial changes in the duration of periods of polynya existence, as well as possibly major alterations of the biogeochemical cycles and food webs of the polynyas. Arctic polynyas will likely respond to polar climate change based on the type of polynya they represent. The flaw lead polynya system will likely become larger and exist for a longer duration over the annual cycle; ice-edge polynyas have already begun to change (e.g., North East Water) and in the future we may see these types of polynyas become more like marginal ice zones than true polynyas. Polynyas, by nature of their largely ephemeral nature, are indeed "indicator" regions for large-scale change, and by monitoring changes within these sensitive areas, we suggest that polynyas can act as a model system for changes in polar marine environments.

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