Human Rights Diary March 2014

NEW YORK, AGENCIES: The recent climate change may be acting to slow down deep ocean currents with poten­tially serious consequences for the planet's future, a study warns. Deep currents act as conveyer belts, channeling heat, carbon, oxygen and nutrients around the globe.

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," said Marinov, an assistant professor in the de­partment of earth and environ­mental science.

"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," she added.
Oceanographers have no­ticed that Antarctic Bottom Waters, a massive current of cold, salty and dense water that flows 2,000 metre under the ocean's surface from near the Antarctic coast toward the equator has been shrinking in recent decades.

This is cause for concern as the current is believed to "hide" heat and carbon from the at­mosphere. The Southern Ocean takes up approximately 60 per cent of the anthro­pogenic heat produced on earth and 40 to 50 per cent of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide.

"The Southern Ocean is emerging as being very, very important for regulating cli­mate," Marinov said. Marinov and colleagues used models to discern whether the shrinking of the Antarctic Bottom Waters could be attributed to anthro­pogenic climate change.

Deccan Herald, March 24, 2014

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