Scientists Study The Past To Understand How Ocean Currents Work And Why It Matters

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Ocean currents are influenced by global warming in a number of ways, but there are many unanswered issues as to precisely how this link operates. Some of these issues may be addressed in forthcoming research.

Using data from 293 locations dating back 66 million yrs and classified as hiatuses in rock layers, researchers were able to determine how marine current strength has changed over the centuries and whether this is related to temperature variations. So doing gave a plethora of additional data well beyond three decades or so of satellites footage experts generally utilized to examine how marine current movement varies as the warmth of the planet continues to rise.

After 13 million years, researchers observed that hiatuses in sedimentary records were less common as Earth cooled. That shows that ocean currents are slowing down in the deepest portions of the ocean. This is in stark contrast to the ‘hothouse climate’ epoch that preceded the 13 million years of cooling-off. Global average temperatures were 3-4 degrees Celsius (5.4-7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) higher during this period.

Water currents have an impact on everything from significant weather conditions to the dispersal of aquatic life. You shouldn’t need to dwell on the sea floor to be influenced.

Earlier studies have shown that, during times of climatic warming, seas may capture more carbon, mostly via plankton that use soluble carbon to form their hulls and then migrate downward to the ocean bottom after death, therefore storing the carbon they have absorbed from the atmosphere.

The fact that temperatures on Earth are continuing to increase means that there will almost certainly be greater activity in the ocean’s depths, which is already well-established. Future studies will be necessary to determine how this may affect the delicate balance between life and the environment.

The study was published in Geology.

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