Scientists dive deep for climate clues
ABCUpdated February 25, 2013, 4:02 pm
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The discovery of a new source of the ocean’s coldest and deepest waters will help scientists better predict ocean circulation and its response to climate change.
Up until now, scientists have known about three sources of Antarctic bottom water but a fourth stream has eluded them for 30 years.
Biologist Mark Hindell says by using satellite trackers on elephant seals another source of the dense salty water has been found off the Amery Ice shelf.
“They go to these places in the middle of winter where we can’t get ships in,” he said.
Sea ice specialist at the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, Guy Williams, says the deepest Antarctic waters are a key driver of the global ocean circulation and the earth’s climate.
“We need to understand the way the ocean works if we want to model it and predict its response to climate change in the future,” he said.
“So while this source in itself is probably is still one of the smaller sources relative to the other traditional ones it’s significant enough and it’s telling us perhaps we’ve been missing something in our previous assessment of what’s been going on in that region.”