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north atlantic ocean circulation

Searching for a Switch

To reconstruct climate changes over millennia, scientists like WHOI’s Delia Oppo and former colleague Jerry McManus use conceptual models, like the one depicted here, that simulate the workings of the ocean and atmosphere. The models point to a possible “switch” that speeds up or slows down a global system of ocean currents that transports heat from the tropics and warms the North Atlantic region and surrounding continents. Changes in the rate or strength of this circulation would likely have substantial impacts on climate. (Illustration by E. Paul Oberlander, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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