Research Paper On Thermohaline Circulation

Decent Essays
According to ‘Green facts’ the Thermohaline Circulation (THC) is the “Large-scale density-driven circulation in the ocean, caused by differences in temperature and salinity.” The oceans water has different salt contents and different temperatures in different areas. The colder water which is cooled at the poles is denser so will sink below the warmer water which is less dense. Surrounding water then moves in to fill the gap as the colder water sinks, this water is then also cooled and will itself begin to sink- this creates the current. Cooler water is usually found at the poles because as sea ice forms the salt content of the ocean increases, because freshwater is taken away when the ice forms. The THC circulates the globe in a long continuous circle. However if the density or salt content of water is changed then it can potentially shut off the THC, if water becomes less saline then it won’t be as dense so may not sink and rise in the same way. One way scientists believe it could be shut off is if glaciers and ice caps melt, this would add a huge amount of freshwater into our oceans- causing it…show more content…
As ocean temperatures increase due to global warming they increase ice melt of these ice sheets and glaciers by melting the floating ice from below. If the air temperatures increase then the ice will begin to melt from above, creating pools of melted water that will in turn melt more of the surrounding ice. This may not always result in a problem as it’s expected that ice sheets reduce in size in the summer months but recently what has been found is that less ice is formed during winter so in total the ice sheets and glaciers are being reduced in size, adding more and more fresh water to our
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