08 Jun '12, 7pm

Researchers discovered a 60-mile-long stretch of unexpected microscopic plants in the Arctic:

Researchers discovered a 60-mile-long stretch of unexpected microscopic plants in the Arctic:

A different phytoplankton bloom, in the Ross Sea. (Photos c/o NASA.) There aren’t supposed to be microscopic plants called phytoplankton blooming in the Arctic right now — usually that doesn’t happen until after the ice melts in the summer, i.e. months from now. But a research team has just discovered a huge, 60-mile-long, three-foot-thick slick of phytoplankton where no phytoplankton should be. It was “like finding the Amazon rainforest in the middle of the Mojave Desert,” said one scientist. The plankton was so thick that the water “literally looked like pea soup,” said lead researcher Kevin Arrigo of Stanford — “It was as thick as a 5-year-old child is tall.” There is a fairly substantial difference between “a 60-mile-long child-thickness of pea soup” and “nothing,” so this was rather surprising. It seems that climate change has provided a perfect environment for plankt...

Full article: http://grist.org/list/monster-phytoplankto-patch-in-the-a...

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