What's changed in 15 years (Chris Polashenski)

Video Shot in: 2023

Chris Polashenski, a physicist with observational experience in Arctic biology, discusses the ecological impacts of diminishing sea ice on Arctic wildlife and primary production. He notes a significant increase in phytoplankton growth beneath the ice, attributed to greater sunlight penetration through thinner ice and melt ponds. This change is leading to larger phytoplankton blooms and shifts in species composition, potentially impacting the entire Arctic food chain. Polashenski also observes a marked decrease in encounters with polar bears and Arctic foxes, suggesting a decline in their populations. He links these changes to the substantial reduction in sea ice over the past 15 years, which has altered the natural habitat of ice-dependent species, affecting their hunting and survival patterns. Polashenski’s insights underscore the profound and rapid ecological transformations occurring in the Arctic due to climate change.