In the Arctic, found a huge freshwater reservoir

26.01.2012


The satellites of the European Space Agency have shown that over the last 15 years in the Arctic Ocean, there was a big reservoir of fresh water. Change in wind direction can lead to the fact that he will pour out into the North Atlantic and cool Europe.

These are startling: since 2002 the sea surface in the studied area has risen by about 15 cm, and the volume of fresh water has increased by around 8 thousand km ^ (3), that is, to this "dome" accounts for about 10% of all the fresh water of the North Arctic Ocean.

Researchers from the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, University College London and the National Oceanography Centre (both — the United Kingdom) have come to their conclusions based on data from satellites ERS-2 and Envisat on the western Arctic, transferred from 1995 to 2010. The scientists concluded that "dome" could be the result of amplification of Arctic winds, which led to the acceleration of a large ocean circulation known as the Beaufort cycle, causing the surface of the sea, and there was a bulge.

If the prevailing winds change, fresh water will spill across the Arctic Ocean and even reach the North Atlantic. This can slow down the flow, branching off from the Gulf Stream, and bring cool Europe. Recall that it was thanks to the Gulf Stream, the old lady enjoys a more temperate climate than other regions located at the same latitude.

"When analyzing the data, we noticed that the change in the height of the sea surface does not always follow the wind — said study lead author Kathryn Giles. — Find reasons led us to the fact that sea ice forms a sort of barrier between the atmosphere and the ocean. As the sea ice cover is changing, so does the effect of the wind on the ocean. Our next step is to study in detail how changes in sea ice cover may affect the relationship between the atmosphere and the ocean. "

Envisat, the largest Earth observation satellite in the history of space exploration, in March, to celebrate ten years in orbit. ERS-2 was retired in July 2011, but the data collected by him and his predecessor ERS-1 in twenty years, will be used by scientists for a long time.

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