NASA finds PLANT LIFE under Arctic ice! Tell President Obama to HALT OIL EXPLORATION AND DRILLING!

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NASA finds life under the ice in the ARCTIC! THEY DON'T KNOW THE ECOLOGY OF THE ARCTIC ENOUGH TO BE RECKLESSLY DRILLING FOR OIL! Please write to President Obama and demand they stop SHELL and other oil companies from exploration and drilling until more is known about the ecology of the region due to the new findings. Read the article below and check out the NASA website for more information.

NASA finds surprising level of plant life growth under Arctic ice

Published - Jun 08 2012 02:19PM PST

Raymond Gellner, World News Examiner

In a discovery which may require the need to re-evaluate future climate change models NASA announced on Thursday that a scientific expedition in the Arctic Ocean has found an incredibly high level of microscopic plant life existing and thriving under the sea ice.

In a statement NASA ocean biology and biogeochemistry program manager Paula Bontempi described the discovery to being “ like finding the Amazon rainforest in the middle of the Mojave Desert .”

The finding was made during a NASA-sponsored oceanic expedition in the summers of 2010 and 2011 named ICESCAPE (Impacts of Climate on EcoSystems and Chemistry of the Arctic Pacific Environment). The purpose of this mission, carried out with the aid of a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker in the Beaufort Sea and the Chukchi Sea, was to study how changes in the world’s environment affect the biology, ecology and biogeochemistry in the Arctic Ocean.

Surprisingly the expedition found high population blooms of microscopic phytoplankton, the base the oceanic food chain, growing under the Arctic ice as far as 72 miles into the ice pack. The under-ice phytoplankton have a growth rate of twice that of the phytoplankton in nearby non-ice covered waters. In addition, scientists estimate that production levels of the under-ice phytoplankton may be up to 10 times that of the phytoplankton in nearby non-ice covered waters.

Professor Kevin Arrigo of Stanford University and leader of ICESCAPE, remarked, “ If someone had asked me before the expedition whether we would see under-ice blooms, I would have told them it was impossible. This discovery was a complete surprise .”

Prior to this find, scientific expectation was that the required light needed for such phytoplankton growth would not adequately penetrate the Arctic ice. However, thinning sea ice may be responsible for increased energy penetrating to the ocean beneath, with an even greater amount of light reaching the ocean under melt ponds. Even so, scientists say that it is too early in the investigation to determine how long these increased levels of phytoplankton have been thriving.

Arrigo stated, “ At this point we don't know whether these rich phytoplankton blooms have been happening in the Arctic for a long time and we just haven't observed them before .

“ These blooms could become more widespread in the future, however, if the Arctic sea ice cover continues to thin .”

The under-ice phytoplankton, if found to be widespread, may require an alteration to future climate change models as phytoplankton use large amounts of carbon dioxide in their biological functions. However, it is still too early to understand the exact effects if any that an increase in phytoplankton production or a loss due to future Arctic oil drilling plans would have on the carbon cycle and the energy balance in the Arctic Ocean and further research is required.

MrsBJLee's picture
Feb. 17, 2012 9:45 am


I just sent an email to the EPA about the NASA findings asking them to STOP any oil exploration and drilling until more is known about the region due to the new NASA findings. I hope you will all do the same. We need to protect those pristine waters and endangered marine and wildlife that will be impacted if there is a spill. I just went to the EPA website, FAQ's page allows you to ask a question or send a comment. I would be grateful if you did!

MrsBJLee's picture
Feb. 17, 2012 9:45 am


One drop of oil can kill a bird.

Arctic birds like the Spectacled Eider protect themselves from the extreme cold with an interlocked coat of feathers that serves as a natural wetsuit to keep out the elements and retain body heat. A single drop of oil can be all it takes to puncture this protection and with frigid water seeping against its bare skin, the bird freezes to death.

Birds and oil in America's Arctic have had an uneasy coexistence since the Prudhoe Bay oil rush began in the late 1960s. Today, drilling and exploration initiatives are more aggressive than ever, posing unprecedented risks to the wildlife that live in the region.

Help us protect Arctic birds and their habitats.

Is the Eider a Sitting Duck?
I spent several summers on Alaska’s Arctic shores studying Spectacled Eiders. They are hard not to love. These sea-faring ducks sport some of the gaudiest colors in nature; even their ducklings have tiny spectacled faces. They’re hardy as well as beautiful, thriving in temperatures that make polar bears shiver.

Listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the Spectacled Eider is particularly vulnerable to oil development. Unlike many other species, these ducks spend the entire year in Arctic waters. In the winter, nearly the entire world’s population of these remarkable creatures congregates in a small area of the Bering Sea, living in gaps in the sea ice.

Simply put, an oil spill—even a small one—could spell doom for this entire species.

Every bird that dies from oil exposure makes me sad. To risk an entire species is a tragedy.

Our Vision for the Arctic
Throughout the region some of the world’s most critical bird habitats currently lack permanent protection. Even the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, created as a safe haven for wildlife, today is a target for drilling and exploration. That’s why protecting threatened and vulnerable birds like the Spectacled Eider—and their pristine habitats—is a top Audubon priority.

MrsBJLee's picture
Feb. 17, 2012 9:45 am

Adding to what I have already posted EarthJustice sent an email.

As you read this, Shell Oil is preparing to move two large drill rigs and a
fleet of support vessels into Arctic waters. Their goal: sink new oil wells, and
kick off a new era of Arctic Ocean drilling.

Drilling in Arctic waters--with hostile conditions and environmental
unknowns--is an irresponsible undertaking. Shell Oil has no credible plan or
proven technology to clean up an oil spill in a region where 20-foot swells,
frozen sea ice, and hurricane force winds are common.

To help with threats like this, several members of Earthjustice's Board of
Trustees have offered to match any gift you make now through June 30,
dollar-for-dollar--up to $500,000.

Few places are as majestic and misunderstood as the Arctic--home to a vibrant
indigenous culture as well as endangered bowhead whales, polar bears, seals,
walrus, and other iconic species already struggling to survive.

A recent report by the government's own leading scientists points to a glaring
lack of knowledge about nearly every aspect of the Arctic Ocean ecosystem. This
lack of data makes it impossible to adequately assess the risks and impacts of
drilling on wildlife and people in the region.

It's absurd! Yet even without this vital information or an adequate clean-up
plan, Shell Oil is moving forward with the most aggressive oil exploration plan
ever proposed for Arctic waters. And ConocoPhillips and other oil companies are
following on their heels.

Thanks to donors like you, Earthjustice's legal and legislative experts have
fought tirelessly to hold the line against reckless offshore drilling in the
Arctic. But this is the closest Big Oil has come to breaking into Arctic waters
in years. Help us prevent a new era of oil development in the fragile region.

MrsBJLee's picture
Feb. 17, 2012 9:45 am

I just sent a email message regarding the NASA findings of plant life under the ice to the Arctic Council. I sent with my message a copy of the NASA press release. I hope you will check out their website and also write to the Arctic Council and ask them not to allow oil drilling in the region.

Here is the link to their contact page and from there you can check out their website too.

OK...I just found another arm of the arctic council that would pertain to the plant life under the ice. Here is their contact page link and from there you can check out their website.


MrsBJLee's picture
Feb. 17, 2012 9:45 am

Okay, now tell me again. What exactly do you plan to fuel your car with?

rigel1's picture
Jan. 31, 2011 7:49 am

Conservatives supposedly hate freeloading. So why are they trying to legalize it?

Conservatives supposedly hate freeloaders.

So why do they support right to work laws - which literally legalize freeloading?

Our nation's nine unelected monarchs on the Supreme Court are poised to deal yet another blow to organized labor.

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