Navigation Links
Salty oceans provide early warning for climate change

Monitoring the saltiness of the ocean water could provide an early indicator of climate change. Significant increases or decreases in salt in key areas could forewarn of climate change in 10 to 20 years time. Presenting their findings at a recent European Science Foundation (ESF) conference, scientists predicted that the waters of the southern hemisphere oceans around South Africa and New Zealand are the places to watch.

Palaeoclimate data shows that the ocean’s currents (like the Gulf Stream and its North Atlantic deep water partner) are capable of shifting gears very suddenly, but until now it wasn’t clear how this occurred. Using a combination of modern observations, numerical models and palaeoclimate data scientists are increasingly realising that salt is the key.

Their results reveal that a build up of salty water can stimulate deep water circulation, while a diluting of the waters is linked to sluggish flow. “Salt plays a far more important role that we first thought,” says Professor Rainer Zahn, a palaeoclimatologist at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain.

Salt increases the density of water. Once a pocket of water becomes salty enough it sinks, drawing in additional water from surrounding areas, and initiates an ocean circulation loop called thermohaline overturning.

The scientists discovered that a build up of salt in the waters off the coast of South Africa could help to speed up ocean circulation in the North Atlantic, despite the two areas being thousands of kilometres apart. “A salt surge is enough to kick start circulation,” says Zahn. Meanwhile, a decrease in saltiness in South African waters could be linked to a slowing down of the North Atlantic circulation.

Models and data both indicate that these changes in ocean circulation occur over very short time-scales, usually in less than a decade or two. Ocean water can’t possibly travel this fast (it takes nearly a century for a parcel of wate r to move from the South Atlantic to the North Atlantic). Instead the scientists think that energy is transferred through the ocean along a deep pressure wave. “The surge of salt generates a pressure gradient in the ocean that sends energy to the north without water actually being transported,” explains Zahn.

Regardless of whether ocean circulation speeds up or slows down it causes significant climate change, altering the hydrological cycle and affecting atmospheric circulation patterns too.

Currently there is no large-scale salt monitoring system in place in the southern hemisphere oceans. Zahn thinks that regular measurements taken in the waters around South Africa and New Zealand could be useful. “It could act as an early warning system for climate changes 10-20 years down the road,” he says.
'"/>

Source:European Science Foundation


Related biology news :

1. Anammox bacteria produce nitrogen gas in oceans snackbar
2. Scientists discover global pattern of big fish diversity in open oceans
3. Climate change will affect carbon sequestration in oceans, model shows
4. Understanding the oceans microbes is key to the Earths future
5. Creating a window on oceans in motion
6. How ancient whales lost their legs, got sleek and conquered the oceans
7. A new look at the state of the oceans
8. Bacterial switch gene regulates how oceans emit sulfur into atmosphere
9. Coral reefs are increasingly vulnerable to angry oceans
10. Climate experts search for answers in the oceans
11. Hundreds of thousands of viral species present in the worlds oceans

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/22/2017)...   Neurotechnology , a provider of high-precision ... the release of the SentiVeillance 6.0 ... recognition using up to 10 surveillance, security and ... new version uses deep neural-network-based facial detection and ... a Graphing Processing Unit (GPU) for enhanced speed. ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel ... came to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo ... At the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could see ... as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   Continue ... ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... -- Future of security: Biometric Face Matching software  ... ... Face Matching enables to match face pictures against each other or against large ... Identification Systems) ... is the fastest software for biometric Face Matching on the market. The speed ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 Kineta, ... development of novel therapies in immuno-oncology, today announced ... lead" small molecule compounds that activate interferon response ... pathways and demonstrate immune-mediated tumor regression in a ... the study who demonstrated complete tumor regression to ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... announced the hire of Dr. Sigmund “Sig” Floyd as Vice President ? Global ... and joint development activities. , “Dr. Floyd’s career has spanned 30 years in ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... Good Start Genetics, a leading family genomics ... million covered lives mark through its most recent payor ... . With newly signed contracts nationally and others ... payor acceptance based on the quality of its science, ... its industry-leading customer care and support and its published ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... - FACIT announced a seed stage investment in ... created by FACIT focused on developing a portfolio ... non-dilutive capital, achieves a targeted $3.0M financing for ... to accelerate the nomination of a candidate drug ... a strategic partnership for clinical trials in patients ...
Breaking Biology Technology: