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Polar studies need united approach, researchers say

Scientists at the British Antarctic Survey are advocating an interdisciplinary approach to research on marine ecosystems to improve understanding of the effects of climate change.

Global climate models such as that developed by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are increasingly useful tools for researchers but are not always adequate for shaping ideas on how climate change is causing ecological changes, BAS said on 2 October.

For studies of the Southern Ocean, for example, global climate models don’t provide sufficiently useful representations of some features that are important for ecologists, such as the marginal ice zone, the transition area between open ocean and sea ice. There are multiple forms of sea ice, and recognising the contribution of each type  is “vitally important” in understand the habitat and zones of “high biological productivity”, BAS said.

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