(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists from the United States and China have recorded the acceleration of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), which encircles the shores of Antarctica and passes through all time zones. The reason for the change in the flow rate is climate change. This is reported in an article published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The prevailing westerly winds are known to increase with warming. Models show that increased wind does not greatly alter ocean currents, but it feeds eddies, which are circular movements of water. To understand how water temperature affects currents, the researchers analyzed satellite data on sea surface elevation, as well as readings from ocean buoys that track changes in global circulation.
It turned out that a change in ocean temperature causes a significant acceleration of ocean currents, including circumpolar ones. The current is likely to accelerate further as the Southern Ocean continues to absorb heat that is released into the environment as a result of human activities.
ACC separates cold water in the south from warm subtropical water in the north. The northern part of the Southern Ocean absorbs a lot of heat. When the gradient or difference in heat between warm and cold water increases, the flow between the two masses accelerates.
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