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Heavy Water

During the austral summer of 2016, WHOI scientists Viviane Menezes and Alison Macdonald traveled to Antarctica to study a physical ocean process known as Antarctic Bottom Water or AABW. In some places along the Antarctic coast, ice formation causes seawater to grow saltier and denser, causing it to sink to the sea floor. These deep, cold waters play a critical role in regulating circulation, temperature, and availability of oxygen and nutrients throughout the world’s oceans. It also serves as both a barometer for climate change and a factor that can contribute to that change. (Photo by Alison Macdonald, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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