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Global Eco Watch: Scientists map transport of fresh water in seas of the Arctic Ocean

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Scientist from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) and the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology have mapped the transport of freshwater discharged by rivers flowing into the constituent seas of the Arctic Ocean.

The scientists studied the discharge of freshwater from the Ob, Yenisei and Lena rivers into the Arctic Ocean’s seas, a press statement by the MIPT said.

Together, these three north-flowing rivers discharge an estimated 2,300 cubic kilometres of freshwater into the ocean, the study noted. This huge volume of freshwater usually mixes very slowly with ambient saltwater, initially forming what is known as a ‘plume’, mostly near the river mouth.

These plumes then spread out to sea mainly due to strong winds and the rate of river water discharge.

The scientists studied the path taken by the Ob-Yenisei plume and the Lena plume. They found that the Ob-Yenisel plume accumulates in the Kara Sea in the ice-free season.

However, this plume faces topographic difficulties such as the western coast of the Taymyr Peninsula and the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago and hence can’t spread east to the Laptev Sea. Only very strong winds can help this happen.

On the other hand, the plume formed by the discharge of the waters of the Lena easily spreads east to the western part of the East Siberian Sea. It increases in volume due to freshwater runoff from the Indigirka and Kolyma rivers and flows farther eastward to the Chukchi Sea, bordering Alaska.

The new data was crucial to understand ice formation, biological productivity and many other processes in the Arctic affected by runoff, the study concluded.

August 2020 was the third-hottest for the United States: NOAA

August 2020 was the third-hottest month on record for the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) federal agency has said in a press statement.

The average temperature for the month across the ‘Lower 48’ or the contiguous US between Canada and Mexico excluding Alaska and Hawaii was 74.7 degrees F.

California the US Southwest, including the states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, each had their warmest August on record, the NOAA said.

On August 16, the Death Valley in California reported a high temperature of 130 degrees F, which, if verified, would be the hottest August temperature on record for the US.

August 2020 was also the one of the driest months in the Lower 48 since records began 126 years ago, with the average precipitation being 2.35 inches.

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