EOS article highlights paper by two ESSC scientists

Ocean cycling depends on small salinity differences

Global SA computer simulation suggests that circulation of the world's oceans, known as the "global conveyor," may depend on slight differences in salt concentrations between the North Atlantic and the North Pacific oceans. In their experiments, Dan Seidov and Bernd Haupt modeled the movement of ocean waters over 10,000 years. The only thing that varied between the five different simulations they ran was the movement of freshwater, through evaporation and precipitation, to and from the ocean surface waters. The simulation in which the surface waters of the Northern Pacific Ocean were set to have slightly higher salinity resulted in the best approximation approximation of the world's current ocean circulation pattern. The authors conclude that salinity differences between the North Atlantic and North Pacific played a key role in the development of the global conveyor, and that movements of fresh water in the Southern Hemisphere have less influence on this process. They point out that if, as recent evidence suggests, the Atlantic Ocean is becoming less salty, it may affect future patterns of global ocean circulation.

EOS article: http://www.emsei.psu.edu/~bjhaupt/papers/grl05.sh/EOS_Vol86-Number22-31-May-2005-highlights.pdf

Original paper: Seidov, D., Haupt, B. J., How to run a minimalist's global ocean conveyor, Geophysical Research Letters, 32(7), L07610-1 - L07610-4, 2005.