Why Do Scientists Study Deep Ocean Currents?


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Nathan Corrie Profile
Nathan Corrie answered
One important reason is because ocean currents have a significant effect on climate. Living in the UK as I do, this is particularly relevant as we benefit from the Gulf Stream (also known as the Conveyor) a current which travels on a continuous loop from the Gulf of Mexico across the Atlantic to Scandinavia, where it sinks and begins its return journey.

The Gulf Stream is relatively warm and generally Britain has mild winters in comparison to say parts of Canada which are on the same latitude. The Conveyor  however, is only maintained whilst the salinity of the sea water remains between very narrow limits. Global warming means the northern ice caps are shedding more fresh water in the form of icebergs which drift south, and when melted, dilute the sea water.

Some estimates say that if this continues the Conveyor may shut down within 50 years. Glad I for one won't be around - I hate the cold ¬!

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