One of Great Ocean Currents Could Warm Up Significantly

One of Great Ocean Currents Could Warm Up Significantly

A new study led by researchers from Binghamton University and the State University of New York has found that the Kuroshivo Current Extension is sensitive to global climate change and can warm significantly with rising carbon dioxide levels. Moving ocean currents move from the tropics to the poles and from the poles to the tropics, causing huge amounts of water to be displaced moment by moment. But because they’re also incredibly ancient, they’ve been following their baselines for millions of years.

The Kuroshivo Current and Extension, an important western boundary current in the North Pacific Ocean, is similar to the Gulf Stream flowing along the east coast of North America. These boundary currents driven by the wind; They are ocean horses that transport heat, salt and gases from the equatorial seas to the mid-latitudes. “In other words, these currents help dissipate heat from the tropics to higher latitudes,” explains paleo (stony) oceanographer Adriane Lam, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Geoscience and Environmental Studies at Binghamton University. In fact, corals reach their highest latitudes anywhere the Kuroshivo Current crosses because the waters are so hot.

” This temperature is due to surface waters that collect in the western Pacific Ocean along the equator and are called the Western Pacific Hot Pool. The Kuroshivo Current carries these waters north, beyond the Japanese coast, and then east at 36°N latitude, where it joins the open Pacific Ocean. At this point, the Kuroshivo Current Extension appears. The current and extension discharges huge amounts of heat and moisture evaporated from the water into the lower atmosphere in the Northern Hemisphere. As such, they help shape precipitation patterns along the routes of warm-water-fed typhoons, as well as Japan and the West Coast of North America. In addition to influencing the weather, Kuroshivo is likely to affect the climate.

But its impact on timescales of thousands and millions of years is not yet known. Kuroshivo also plays a large role in ecosystems and the fishing industry. The warming of this current may cause great problems for living things and ecosystem. The findings are presented in the journal Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology.

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