Inflow of salt water from Indian Ocean could stabilize climate in Europe

April 30th, 2011 - 5:04 pm ICT by ANI  

London, April 30 (ANI): It has been predicted that global warming will weaken the effects of the Gulf Stream leading to dry climate in Europe, but a new study has suggested that inflow of salt water from the Indian Ocean could stabilize the climate.

Gulf Stream, originating in the Gulf of Mexico, is one of the ocean currents that particularly interest oceanographers and climatologists.

This current transports enormous amounts of warm tropical waters to the North Atlantic and is the cause of Europe’s habitable climate.

Climate predictions has pointed that this will change in the future and will affect especially the climate in countries of the Mediterranean region, with more dry spells.

It was assumed that as global warming progresses, the North Atlantic would receive more precipitation and a greater amount of water from the melting of glaciers in Greenland, thus reducing the salinity of ocean water and weakening the Gulf Stream’s effects.

But a new study has described an alternative approach which suggests that flows from the Indian Ocean to the South Atlantic, near the tip of Africa, also are important in relation to future current systems in the North Atlantic.

The Agulhas Current, located in the southwest of the Indian Ocean, transports high density salt water to the southern tip of Africa, where part of it escapes to the South Atlantic, contributing to the strength of the global circulation of this ocean.

The study described how this inflow of salt water from the Indian Ocean can compensate the decrease in salinity in the North Atlantic and therefore stabilise the Gulf Stream and the climate in Europe.

These processes have been simulated using computational climate models.

The authors of the research article are members of a consortium of marine scientists from United States, Germany, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Spain working together with the objective of studying the effects of the Agulhas Current on regional and global climates.

The study was published in Nature. (ANI)

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