Environment

Climate Extremes Drive Changes in Antarctic Bottom Water

British Antarctic Survey contributes to new international study that finds a surprising increase in the amount of dense water sinking near Antarctica, following 50 years of decline.

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British Antarctic Survey contributes to new international study that finds a surprising increase in the amount of dense water sinking near Antarctica, following 50 years of decline.

Dense water formed near Antarctica, known as Antarctic Bottom Water, supplies oxygen to the deep ocean. Bottom water also forms part of the global network of ocean currents that influences climate by storing heat and carbon dioxide in the ocean. Changes in bottom water formation can therefore impact global climate and deep ocean ecosystems.

The study, led by Dr Alessandro Silvano from the University of Southampton and CSIRO and published in the journal Nature Geoscience, documents an increase in the supply of bottom water to the deep Indian and Pacific Oceans. “Over the past 50 years of oceanographic campaigns we have seen a reduction in the amount of dense water reaching the deep ocean’ Dr Silvano said.

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