NASA Discovers Massive Phytoplankton Bloom Under Arctic Sea Ice

  • Released Thursday, June 7, 2012

Scientists have made a biological discovery in Arctic Ocean waters as dramatic and unexpected as finding a rainforest in the middle of a desert. A NASA-sponsored expedition punched through three-foot thick sea ice to find waters richer in microscopic marine plants, essential to all sea life, than any other ocean region on Earth.

The discovery is the result of an oceanographic expedition called ICESCAPE, or Impacts of Climate on EcoSystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment. The NASA-sponsored mission explored the seas along Alaska's western and northern coasts onboard a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker during the summers of 2010 and 2011. The finding reveals a new consequence of the Arctic's warming climate and provides an important clue to understanding the impacts of a changing climate and environment on the Arctic Ocean and its ecology.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Under-ice footage courtesy of Karen Frey (Clark University)

Release date

This page was originally published on Thursday, June 7, 2012.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:53 PM EDT.


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  • NASA Discovers Massive Blooms Under Arctic Sea Ice (ID: 2012061)
    Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 4:00AM