Deep ocean current may slow due to climate change

After Big Bang

Far beneath the surface of the ocean, deep currents act as conveyer belts, channeling heat, carbon, oxygen and nutrients around the globe.

As global warming increases precipitation in the Weddell Sea, sea-ice patterns are changing and a deep sea current is shrinking. Credit: Image courtesy of University of Pennsylvania As global warming increases precipitation in the Weddell Sea, sea-ice patterns are changing and a deep sea current is shrinking.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Pennsylvania

A new study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Irina Marinov and Raffaele Bernardello and colleagues from McGill University has found that recent climate change may be acting to slow down one of these conveyer belts, with potentially serious consequences for the future of the planet’s climate.

“Our observations are showing us that there is less formation of these deep waters near Antarctica,” Marinov said. “This is worrisome because, if this is the case, we’re likely going to see less uptake of human produced, or anthropogenic, heat and carbon dioxide by the ocean, making this a positive feedback loop for climate change.”

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