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Scientists study how industries, climate influence White Sea ecosystems

May 22, 2018, 11:26 UTC+3 PETROZAVODSK

During the project, scientists will have a few expeditions to the White Sea to take water and soil samples

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© Sergei Bobylev/TASS

PETROZAVODSK, May 21. /TASS/. A group of Russian scientists will study how the climate changes and industrial activities influence the White Sea’s ecosystems over a period of three years, Alexei Tolstikov, an expert from the Academy of Sciences Institute for Water Studies, told TASS.

"We have begun a three-year project to study how the climate changes influence the White Sea’s ecosystems and the Arctic zone’s development," he said. "For example, diamond production continues in the Arkhangelsk Region, and polymetallic ores are produced in the Kandalaksha Bay area."

"Any industry affects the processes in a water source," he continued. "Rivers carry various substances towards the seas, other substances move in the air."

During the project, he continued, scientists will have a few expeditions to the White Sea to take water and soil samples. They will study the water’s temperature and share of salt, distribution of phyto-and zooplankton, and the water’s chemical structure.

"While analyzing those criteria, we will give preliminary estimations, and compare the data with the results of earlier tests," the expert resumed. "We suppose, nothing has changed crucially, though certain dynamics continues."

The changing climate

The climate changes in the White Sea area are evident, the scientist said. For example, average air temperatures over the past 20 years have exceeded the climate norm, with every November being the exception. The number of freezing days is diminishing, and the winter seasons are less stable in temperatures. Thus, average temperatures during the winter months have been rising, he noted.

"Over the past decade, heavy rains have become more frequent. We refer here to those situations, where during one day the precipitation equals a month’s level, and such days are more frequent now," he explained. "Thus, the White Sea’s water is becoming less salty."

The warming continues in the White Sea area, with scientists recording higher water temperatures at all depths, which, of course, influences the biological processes in the sea.

The White Sea is the only inner sea, which is fully inside Russia’s borders. Its area is 91,000 square kilometers, its average depth is 67 meters, and the maximum depth is 340 meters. The catchment unites Karelia, the Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and Vologda, and Komi Regions.

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