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Spicy and Minty

Spicy and Minty

February 9, 2019

This artists’ rendition illustrates the unusual confluence of waters that occurs beneath the surface of the Bay of Bengal. From the west comes warm, salty waters (yellow) formed in the Arabian Sea. From the east comes colder, fresher water (blue) formed in the Andaman Sea. These water parcels have the same density because their combined characteristics compensate for each other: Warmer but saltier water (which oceanographers call “spicy”) can have the same density as colder but fresher water (called “minty”). Oceanographers can use these “flavors” as a convenient marker to identify water types, much like two colored dyes. (Illustration by Gualitiero Spiro Jaeger and Eric S. Taylor, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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