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Post at: Jun 14 2022

Blue Blob

Why in news

  • In April, 2022 a research proper published in geophysical Research letter found that a region of cooling water in the North Atlantic Ocean near Iceland, nicknamed the "Blue blob," has likely slowed the melting of the island's glaciers since 2011 and may continue to stymie ice loss until about 2050.

More about the research 

  • The new study uses climate models and field observations to show that the cold water patch cooled the air above Iceland enough to limit ice loss beginning in 2011.
  • This allowed them to calculate how much ice had grown or shrunk over the glaciers.
  • Cooler water is expected to stay in the North Atlantic, preserving Iceland's glaciers until about 2050, according to the model.
  • The Arctic has warmed rapidly, according to recent studies, rising four times faster than the world average.

Blue Blob

  • Blue Blob is a cold patch located south of Iceland and Greenland and little is known about it. The cold patch was most prominent during the winter of 2014-2015 when the sea surface temperature was about 1.4 degrees Celsius colder than normal.

Blue blob'effect

  • The Arctic region is reportedly warming four times faster than the global average Iceland’s glaciers steadily shrank from 1995 to 2010, losing an average of 11 billion tons of ice per year.
  • Starting in 2011, however, the speed of Iceland’s melting slowed, resulting in about half as much ice loss annually or about five billion tons. This trend was not seen in nearby, larger glaciers across Greenland and Svalbard.
  • Before the Blue Blob, a long-term cooling trend in the same region, called the Atlantic Warming Hole, reduced sea surface temperatures by about 0.4 to 0.8 degrees Celsius during the last century and may continue to cool the region in the future.

Until when will the patch help slow glacier melting?

  • The team used a climate model to determine how long the blue blob influence will continue. The cold water patch is estimated to linger on at least till 2050 in the North Atlantic, thereby significantly reducing the melting process of Iceland's glaciers.

Arctic Region

  • The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.
  • Land within the Arctic region has seasonally varying snow and ice cover.
  • It consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska (United States), Canada, Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.
  • Since 2013, India has had observer status in the Arctic Council.
  • The Arctic Council is the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States.

Members of the Arctic Council

  • Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States of America.

Conclusion

  • The Arctic is warming fast. If we wish to see glaciers in Iceland, then we have to curb the warming.Without mitigation efforts, the region's glaciers are likely to lose a third of their current ice volume by 2100 and even wholly vanish by 2300 despite the cooling effect of the Blue Blob.

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