BY KEN BRANSON
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
An international team of scientists has discovered that the circulation pattern of deep water in the North Atlantic may be more fragile than previously thought due to a rapid addition of fresh water to the ocean’s surface waters. Their paper has been published in the online edition of the journal Science.
Scientists believe changes in this circulation – called thermohaline circulation – may dramatically accelerate global climate change. “The formation of deep water exerts a large influence on the temperature difference between the Arctic and the equator,” says Yair Rosenthal, professor of marine science in Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and a co-author of the paper. “It also influences atmospheric circulation and affects the major climate systems of the far northern hemisphere. In the past, such changes have been implicated in changing precipitation patterns near the equator, and that can mean longer, more severe droughts in places like Africa’s Sahel.”