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A newly coined term that has alarmists buzzing is ‘Atlantification,’ a process some scientists believe is causing Arctic sea ice melt, even though the theory is more fizzle than fact.

Atlantification is an unspecified atmospheric process that somehow gathers, focuses, and increases the temperature of a limited portion of the Arctic atmosphere.

This newly formed blob of very warm air remains stationary above a very small portion of the Arctic Sea, causing the melting of sea ice from atmospheric influences. This ice-free Arctic Ocean area then starts pulling deep, warm, and salty bottom-hugging Atlantic Ocean seawater northward from a location 2,000 miles south. Upon arrival at the small ice-free area, the deep, warm, and salty Atlantic seawater rise to the surface acting to Atlantify a limited portion of Arctic Ocean.

Heat flow and chemically charged heated fluid flow emitted from well-mapped and active Arctic region geological features, not “Atlantification“, are altering the Arctic Ocean’s temperature and salinity.

The Atlantification process is a tedious, complex, and less-than-sufficient data-supported hypothesis.

A more succinct and data-driven explanation involves heat flow and heated ocean water from well-mapped and very active geological features that lie directly beneath or very close to the limited areas of altered Arctic Ocean sea ice and seawater.

This alternative explanation shows that super-heated and salty seawater emitted from a geological feature, such as a group of active faults or seafloor volcanoes, turbulently rises three miles upward throw the overlying cool Arctic Ocean seawater column. Once to the surface, this warm, salty seawater acts to affect the surface area directly above or nearby the geological feature by melting sea ice, increasing seawater temperature, and increasing seawater salinity.

Evidence supporting this contention is as follows.

The figure below provides the reader with a regional view of the heat-flowing geological features of the entire Arctic.

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Figure 1 – Active geological features of the Arctic Ocean Region. Volcanoes (red w/black outlined triangles), major continent bounding fault systems (red hatched), and mantle plumes (red cross-hatched).


One such feature is the ultra-slow moving Mid-Arctic Rift System (MARS). For many years this system was incorrectly thought to be dead and therefore emitting only minor amounts of heat flow, spawning a limited number of small earthquakes and flowing minor amounts of chemically charged fluid. Then new groundbreaking research and a very telling earthquake showed that this fault system was actually very active (see here and here).

An example of a small geographic area of the Arctic Ocean that is being affected by geological heat flow extends from the Svalbard Islands to the Jan Mayen Volcanoes (see Figure 1). This area contains a high concentration of very active seamounts (seafloor volcanoes) and hydrothermal vents (hot seafloor geysers) that are emitting massive amounts of heat and chemically charged heated fluid into the overlying Arctic Ocean seawater column (see quote below and here).

Jan Mayen Fracture (JMF) is a 1,500-kilometer-long active volcanic ocean floor mountain range….The range extends from Jan Mayen Island (active volcanic island) in the Greenland Sea to the Fram Strait between Svalbard and Greenland. It comprises hundreds of volcanos, some just 20 meters (65 feet) below the surface. …“We have long known that Iceland has both volcanic activity and hot springs, but we thought that we did not have anything like that in Norway. But we do, it was only under water.”

The hot lava pockets supplying this volcanic activity are extremely hot measured at 2,192 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat flow from the JVM to the Svalbard Islands combined with known heat flow from the Svalbard Islands (see here, here, and here) is most likely the root cause of ice melting and alteration of the Arctic Ocean in and around the ocean waters surrounding the Svalbard Islands. This area is the most cited example area of Atlantification.

Another example of how a known local geological feature affects the temperature and salinity of a small portion of Arctic Ocean is illustrated below in Figure 2 taken from a previous climate Change Dispatch article (see here). On or about October 10, 2015, an Arctic Ocean seafloor volcano pulsed a large amount of super-heated chemically charged water into the overlying seawater column. It rapidly rose to the surface and then bottom-melted a small patch of the overlying sea ice. This event was obviously not from Atlantification, rather from geological forces.

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Figure 2


The concept, as perAtlantification, that major ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream dutifully carry warm salty Atlantic Ocean water north some 2,000 miles to specifically limited portions of the Arctic Ocean is explained by the quote below taken from a recent research study.

“The Barents Sea lies where the Atlantic Ocean meets the colder Arctic. In its northern region, the Barents is ice-  covered, cold and harsh. By comparison, its southern region, fed by warm Atlantic waters carried to the north by the Gulf Stream, hosts “a rich ecosystem and lucrative fisheries,” the study authors reported (see here).

There is a huge problem with relying on the Gulf Stream to deliver large amounts of warm Atlantic water north to the Arctic Ocean. The Gulf Stream, which is the Atlantic Ocean’s major northward flowing current, has been dramatically slowing down for many years now (see here). This slowing down process means far less warm Atlantic seawater is being delivered to the Arctic Ocean. It’s difficult to alter an entire ocean, the Arctic, with a weak flow of warm salty water.

Finally, let’s consider comparing West Antarctica’s geological features with those of the Arctic region.

Failure to include geological heat flow data into the Arctic Ocean Atlantification analysis process is an especially glaring error because it has recently been proven beyond any doubt that West Antarctica’s oceans and glaciers are strongly affected by the sub-glacial ice melting and chemical alerting powers of geological heat flow (see here, here, and here).

Comparison of West Antarctica’s actively heat flowing geological features which act to alter its ocean temperatures and salinity to the actively heat flowing geological features of the Arctic Ocean shows that they are strikingly similar! This lends a significant amount of credence to the hypothesis that geological forces, not Atlantificationare at work in the Arctic.

Hundreds of active sub-sea ice volcanoes
World class Mid-Arctic Fault / Rift System
Massive Greenland / Iceland Mantle Plume

Hundreds of active sub-glacial volcanoes
World class size West Antarctic Fault / Rift System
Massive Marie Byrd Mantle Plume.

In summary, the Atlantification process is a tedious, complex, and less than sufficient data-supported hypothesis. For reasons not completely obvious, the scientists who developed this idea failed to mention the likely contribution of geologically induced heat flow and super-heated high salinity fluid flow. It is here contended that these geological forces are the dominant and likely sole reason for changes in Arctic Ocean temperature and salinity.