Density and Oceanic Circulation - C-MORE

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Deep Ocean Circulation
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/image/earth_day.jpg
1
Effect of Solar Radiation on Sea
Surface Temperature
Sunlight
Modified image from Windows to the Universe, http://www.windows.ucar.edu
2
Sea Surface Temperature
oceanworld.tamu.edu
3
Surface Currents
Sea to Air
Heat Transfer
4
Deep Ocean Currents Driven by
Density of Seawater
hawaiianphotos.net
melindawebster.com
What effects water density?
• Colder water
Denser (to 4°C)
• Saltier water
Denser
5
Deep water forms when:
http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/
● Surface water
flows to the poles
and gets colder
● When seawater
freezes it leaves
salt behind,
increasing salinity
● Water becomes
denser and sinks
6
Modeling cold salty water sinking
7
Global Conveyor Belt
Sinking Cold,
Salty Water
8
Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
http://sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov/index.html
9
Global Conveyor Belt
Thermohaline Circulation
– Thermo = temperature
– Haline = salinity
10
Why is thermohaline circulation important?
• Major influence
on climate
• Transfers heat
from equator to
poles
• Nutrient cycling
• Brings oxygen to
deep ocean
organisms
11
O2
Warmed and lit by sun
PRODUCED in surface ocean
Mixed with atmosphere
(oxygen)
Mixed
Surface
Ocean
Boundary
Deep
Ocean
O2
Photosynthesis
O2
O
2
Less Nutrients
Cold, Dark, No Photosynthesis, More Nutrients
Oxygen (O2) USED
O2
O2
12
How will global climate change
affect thermohaline circulation?
• Melting of sea ice
• Increased
precipitation
informify.com
Decrease in
salinity
May alter
thermohaline
circulation
13
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