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Conveyor Belt Currents

Papers
  1. -Editorial: Our Threatened Oceans (Awesome Library)
      "We have reason for great concern that our oceans are going through a rapid change that may create severe problems for ourselves and disaster for our children and grandchildren. Here are some of the problems...." There have been catastrophic losses of live globally in the past. 12-15

  2. Consequences of Slowing Ocean Currents (Truth-Out.org)
      "Anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) has progressed to a point where it is, literally, changing one of the most important ocean circulatory currents in the world."

      "In a paper recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, NASA researchers confirmed that the circulation of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is slowing down. In 2009 and 2010 that shifting had already been linked to a sudden and extreme five-inch sea level rise on the East Coast."

      Editor's Note: The ocean currents are also called "thermohaline" currents. 01-16

  3. Huge Iceberg Breaks Off (CBS News)
      "The new iceberg is 48 miles long and about 24 miles wide and holds roughly the equivalent of a fifth of the world's annual total water usage, Young told The Associated Press."

      "Experts are concerned about the effect of the massive displacement of ice on the ice-free water next to the glacier, which is important for ocean currents."

      "This area of water had been kept clear because of the glacier, said Steve Rintoul, a leading climate expert. With part of the glacier gone, the area could fill with sea ice, which would disrupt the ability for the dense and cold water to sink."

      "This sinking water is what spills into ocean basins and feeds the global ocean currents with oxygen, Rintoul explained." 02-10

  4. Hydrothermic Activity Beneath the Arctic Ocean (Max Planck Society)
      "The scientists had expected that the Gakkel ridge would exhibit 'anemic' magmatism. Instead, surprisingly strong magmatic activity in the West and the East of the ridge and one of the strongest hydrothermal activities ever seen at mid-ocean ridges were found. These results require a fundamental rethinking of the mechanisms of seafloor generation at midocean ridges."

  5. Melting Glaciers Could Produce "Runaway Effects" (ABC News)
      "In only five years, the amount of freshwater the melting glaciers have dumped into the Atlantic has nearly doubled, which has caused many scientists to conclude that current projections of how fast sea levels will rise have been too low."

      "Scientists also worry about the effect all this fresh-melt water will have on the Atlantic's Gulf Stream 'conveyor belt' currents. These currents have long kept the northeastern United States, Britain and northwestern Europe relatively warm for their northern latitudes by transporting heat up from the tropics. Too much freshwater slows these currents, said scientists."

      "A few weeks ago, scientists announced a surprising discovery currents have slowed by 30 percent in recent years."

      "This is the latest confirmation that global warming is now accelerating and involving interconnected 'positive feedback' effects in which the warming in different earth systems reinforces overall warming, and it is all now happening faster than scientists recently thought possible, according to the report." 02-06

  6. Ocean Currents Already Changing (New Scientist)
      "A paper in this week's issue of Nature reveals that the Gulf Stream current system--a band of water that brings tropical warmth to the North Atlantic, keeping Europe from being as cold as it should be--circulates 30 percent less water than it did in the past." 11-08

  7. Ocean Currents and Climate (Stott)
      Provides graphics and explanations of ocean currents globally, as well as in the ancient past. 3-01

  8. Oceanic Currents (MOS.org)
      "The world's oceans travel in well-defined circular patterns called currents which flow like rivers. When the atmosphere pushes over the surface of the ocean some of the energy goes to forming waves while the rest goes to pushing the water in the direction of the wind. North of the equator currents bend to the right, south of the equator they bend to the left. This is called the Coriolis effect. Winds, continents and the Coriolis effect make currents flow around the oceans in huge loops called gyres."

  9. Oceanic Currents Power (OCSEnergy)
      "While ocean currents move slowly relative to typical wind speeds, they carry a great deal of energy because of the density of water. Water is more than 800 times denser than air, so for the same surface area, water moving 12 miles per hour exerts about the same amount of force as a constant 110 mph wind. Ocean currents thus contain an enormous amount of energy that can be captured and converted to a usable form. It has been estimated that taking just 1/1000th the available energy from the Gulf Stream would supply Florida with 35% of its electrical needs."

  10. Shutdown of the Thermohaline Currents and Climate (Wikipedia.org)
      "Heat is transported from the equator polewards mostly by the atmosphere but also by ocean currents, with warm water near the surface and cold water at deeper levels. The best known segment of this circulation is the Gulf Stream, a wind-driven gyre, which transports warm water from the Caribbean northwards." 03-12

  11. Thermohaline Conveyor Currents (Climatic Research Unit)
      "There are three main processes that make the oceans circulate: tidal forces, wind stress, and density differences. The density of sea water is controlled by its temperature (thermo) and its salinity (haline), and the circulation driven by density differences is thus called the thermohaline circulation. The animation and list below describes the key features of the global-scale thermohaline circulation." 01-06

  12. Thermohaline Conveyor Currents (GRID-Arendal)
      "The global conveyor belt thermohaline circulation is driven primarily by the formation and sinking of deep water (from around 1500m to the Antarctic bottom water overlying the bottom of the ocean) in the Norwegian Sea. This circulation is thought to be responsible for the large flow of upper ocean water from the tropical Pacific to the Indian Ocean through the Indonesian Archipelogo. The two counteracting forcings operating in the North Atlantic control the conveyor belt circulation: (1) the thermal forcing (high-latitude cooling and the low-latitude heating) which drives a polar southward flow; and (2) haline forcing (net high-latitude freshwater gain and low-latitude evaporation) which moves in the opposite direction. In today's Atlantic the thermal forcing dominates, hence, the flow of upper current from south to north."

      Provides a global chart of the flow of the currents.

      "When the strength of the haline forcing increases due to excess precipitation, runoff, or ice melt the conveyor belt will weaken or even shut down." 01-06

  13. Thermohaline Conveyor Currents (GRID-Arendal)
      "The global conveyor belt thermohaline circulation is driven primarily by the formation and sinking of deep water (from around 1500m to the Antarctic bottom water overlying the bottom of the ocean) in the Norwegian Sea. This circulation is thought to be responsible for the large flow of upper ocean water from the tropical Pacific to the Indian Ocean through the Indonesian Archipelogo. The two counteracting forcings operating in the North Atlantic control the conveyor belt circulation: (1) the thermal forcing (high-latitude cooling and the low-latitude heating) which drives a polar southward flow; and (2) haline forcing (net high-latitude freshwater gain and low-latitude evaporation) which moves in the opposite direction. In today's Atlantic the thermal forcing dominates, hence, the flow of upper current from south to north."

      Provides a global chart of the flow of the currents.

      "When the strength of the haline forcing increases due to excess precipitation, runoff, or ice melt the conveyor belt will weaken or even shut down." 01-06

  14. Thermohaline Conveyor Currents (Wikipedia.org)
      "The thermohaline circulation is a term for the global density-driven circulation of the oceans. Derivation is from thermo- for heat and -haline for salt, which together determine the density of sea water."

      "The thermohaline circulation is sometimes called the ocean conveyor belt, the global conveyor belt, or, most commonly nowadays, the meridional overturning circulation (often abbreviated as MOC)."

      "The vertical exchange of dense, sinking water with lighter water below it is known as overturning. Hence, a recent and popular name for the thermohaline circulation, emphasizing the vertical nature and pole-to-pole character of this kind of ocean circulation, is the meridional overturning circulation." 01-06

  15. Warming Debate Shifts to "Tipping Point" (MSNBC News)
      "Now that most scientists agree human activity is causing Earth to warm, the central debate has shifted to whether climate change is progressing so rapidly that, within decades, humans may be helpless to slow or reverse the trend."

      "There are three specific events that these scientists describe as especially worrisome and potentially imminent, although the time frames are a matter of dispute: widespread coral bleaching that could damage the world's fisheries within three decades; dramatic sea level rise by the end of the century that would take tens of thousands of years to reverse; and, within 200 years, a shutdown of the [Atlantic thermohaline] ocean current that moderates temperatures in northern Europe." 01-06

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