Oceanography

Why the Atlantic is so hot

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
478,
Page:
9
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/478009e
Published online

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The Atlantic Ocean has warmed more than other oceans in recent decades, thanks to the transport of warm waters from the Indian Ocean.

Sang-Ki Lee at the University of Miami in Florida and his colleagues used a global ocean-ice model and historical data to simulate ocean currents, wind patterns and radiative heat fluxes over the course of the late nineteenth and entire twentieth centuries. The models show a sharp increase in heat transport from the Indian Ocean from the 1960s onwards.

The authors say that the strengthening of rotating currents in the Indian and South Atlantic oceans is contributing to this trend. Other research has suggested that the degradation of Antarctic ozone may be contributing indirectly to this ocean-current strengthening.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1029/2011GL048856 (2011)

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