Stationary Spiraling Eddies and Self-Cleaning Processes in the White Sea in Presence of Climate Change and Their Relationship with Ecology of the Greenland Seal: Results of Airborne-Satellite-In Situ Study
Pollution of the marginal Arctic seas and rising of toxic contaminants are extremely dangerous for marine and coastal ecosystems and for marine mammals as representatives of a high level of fodder chains in the ocean. Ecology of ice-associated forms of marine mammals, population health and animal welfare are strongly depended from the different environmental processes and phenomena. Operational assessment of the level of this impact is very important for marine biology, marine fisheries and other. Many new problems create a global warming. In order to investigate ice covered Arctic Ocean and charting the number of seals were performed annual inspections onboard research aircraft PINRO Arktika. Multi-spectral airborne and satellite observations were fulfilled regularly from Barents and White Sea to the Bering and Okhotsk Sea. A contemporary status of different group of sea mammals was evaluated, where number and health of adults and pups were checked separately. In situ observations were provided with using helicopter and icebreaker for gathering a water samples, ice cores and specimens of meat and fatty matter (with following biochemical and toxicological analysis in laboratory). A prevailing part of life cycle of Greenland seals (Pagophillus groenladicus) is strongly depended from winter hydrology (water masses arrangement and water exchange, stable currents, meandering fronts, stationary spiraling eddies) and closely connected with type of ice (pack, fast ice) and other parameters of ice (age, origin, salinity, ice edge). First-year ice floes which has a specific properties and distinctive features are used by harp seals for pupping, lactation, molting, pairing and resting. Ringed seals, inversely, use for corresponding purposes only fast-ice. Different aspects of ecology, and migration features of harp seals were analyzed in frame of verification study. It was revealed a scale of influence of winter severity and wind regime (even a cases of ecological catastrophe of harp seal were fixed), but stationary eddies in the White Sea is most effective governing factor (novelty). The results of study of the following relationship of the problem eddies – self-cleaning processes – climate change – ecology of Greenland seal White Sea population will be presented: A) regularities of eddies formation and their spatial arrangement, temporal (seasonal and annual) modification, B) stationary eddy as zone of concentration of polluted waters and toxically hazard, self-cleaning processes and climate change, C) eddies displacement and parameters modification (type of eddy, intensity and sign of rotation) as result of climate change, D) relationship between eddies location and whelping rookeries arrangement, climate change and variety of the type of migration E) spiraling eddies and pollution dynamics, forecast of future modification of marine animal welfare. A further develop a strategy of multi-level ecomonitoring of the polluted Arctic should be discussed and recommendations for conservation and management of ice-associated forms of seals in presence of global warming will be done.