Gulf Stream WatersOctober 3, 2018
Sam Levang, a graduate student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program, has been studying the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, a critical component of Earth’s climate system. It transports warm and salty surface waters into the North Atlantic, where they release heat to the atmosphere. The waters become colder and denser and sink near Greenland and flow southward to continue the loop. Scientists expect global warming to slow this circulation as melting ice and additional rainfall add buoyant fresh water to the region where waters sink. But increased evaporation to the south could compensate for this slowdown by bringing saltier waters north. Small eddies may help to spread this salty water northward. (Illustration by Natalie Renier, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Creative Studio)
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