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Tracking warm eddies in a cold sea

Water in the ocean is always on the move, with big currents flowing like rivers in different directions and at different layers in the sea. These ocean currents help carry heat around the Earth. During winter in the Labrador Sea, the cold air from Canada cools the water at the ocean’s surface down to near freezing, like placing a pan of warm water in the refrigerator. The cold surface water is now denser and heavier than underlying water, so it sinks down —through warmer layers of water— to the sea floor. In September 2007, WHOI scientists aboard the R/V Knorr  travelled to the Labrador Sea to learn more about how the currents of warmer and cooler water flow around near that spot.

(Photo by Dave Sutherland, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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