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Image : To Understand an Ocean, a Beginning

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Follow the water: Cold, relatively fresh water from the Pacific Ocean enters the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait. It is swept into the Beaufort Gyre and exits into the North Atlantic Ocean through three gateways (Fram, Davis, and Hudson Straits). Warmer, denser waters from the Atlantic penetrate the Arctic Ocean beneath colder water layers, which lie atop the warmer waters and act as a barrier preventing them from melting sea ice. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists have launched a variety of missions to explore how global climate change is affecting the Arctic, and how changes in the Arctic, in turn, could spill out and cause further climate change well beyond the polar region. (Illustration by Jack Cook, WHOI)

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Last updated: September 28, 2010
 


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