In 2015, researchers at the National Oceanography Center (NOC) used Royal Navy submarine data to investigate the nature of turbulence in the ocean beneath the Arctic sea-ice. This is mainly because recent decreases in Arctic sea ice may have a big impact on the circulation, chemistry and biology of the Arctic Ocean, because of ice-free waters becoming more turbulent.
By revealing more about how these turbulent motions distribute energy within the ocean, the findings from this study provide information important for accurate predictions of the future of the Arctic Ocean. The melting of Arctic sea-ice is expected to be accelerated as the cold, fresh layer of water just beneath the ice mixes with a relatively warm, salty layer below it. This mixing is caused by turbulent motions, such as internal waves and eddy currents, which are likely to increase as the sea-ice thins and breaks up, causing a positive feedback effect.