Atlantic to Pacific feedback discovered

February 22, 2007

French scientists say an exchange of water vapor from the Atlantic to the Pacific might be an important feedback mechanism for abrupt climatic changes.

Researchers say the global ocean circulation during the past 90,000 years has varied between warm and cold periods, some lasting thousands of years.

Now scientists have discovered the atmospheric transport of water from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean across Central America leads to relatively high levels of salinity in the North Atlantic Ocean, contributing to the formation of North Atlantic Deep Water -- an important link within the global ocean circulation.

Guillaume Leduc and colleagues at the National Center for Scientific Research, a French government-funded research organization, used a marine sediment core to reconstruct sea surface salt levels in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, and detected strong fluctuations associated with the migration of the tropical Atlantic Intertropical Convergence Zone.

The researchers found during warmer phases, moisture export from the Atlantic increased, which reinforced the salt buildup in North Atlantic surface waters. The reverse situation occurred during cooler periods, with decreased fresh water flux across Panama.

The project is described in the journal Nature.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Study shows global warming likely a factor in decline of glass eel

Related Stories

Counting the cost of last summer's NZ heatwave

January 29, 2019

As the Australian heatwave is spilling across the Tasman and pushing up temperatures in New Zealand, we take a look at the conditions that caused a similar event last year and the impacts it had.

Recommended for you

After a reset, Сuriosity is operating normally

February 23, 2019

NASA's Curiosity rover is busy making new discoveries on Mars. The rover has been climbing Mount Sharp since 2014 and recently reached a clay region that may offer new clues about the ancient Martian environment's potential ...

Study: With Twitter, race of the messenger matters

February 23, 2019

When NFL player Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice, the ensuing debate took traditional and social media by storm. University of Kansas researchers have ...

Researchers engineer a tougher fiber

February 22, 2019

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a fiber that combines the elasticity of rubber with the strength of a metal, resulting in a tougher material that could be incorporated into soft robotics, packaging ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.