Environment 

Microplastics Contaminate Snow from Alps to Arctic

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that pollute the environment and can range from 0.05 to 5 millimeters in length. Bigger plastic items can be fragmented by the action of light, temperature fluctuations, ocean waves, or mechanical abrasion into smaller pieces that are widely dispersed, persistent in the environment, and sometimes accompanied by microorganisms. A recent article by Bergmann et al., published in the periodical Science Advances, assessed quantities of microplastics in the snow from the Alps and other northern European sites to the Arctic and…

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Ebbs and Floes: Watching Melting Ice in the Arctic Environment 

Ebbs and Floes: Watching the Arctic Ice Melt

By Norman Rusin @normanrusin Last July, a team of NASA scientists succeeded in collecting data about summer melting ice in the Arctic during a first-of-its-kind operation. The team surveyed the Arctic Ocean off the Alaskan coast, in Barrow, to measure the aquamarine pools of meltwater on floes—huge chunks of floating ice—that may be accelerating the overall sea ice retreat. They chose the northernmost US city because of its proximity to the ocean. However, they knew they would face unstable weather conditions there, so they would have to pursue targets of…

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