Ocean Currents Are Slowing, With Potentially Devastating Effects
Melting Antarctic ice is disrupting the movement of deep seawater
In the deep crushing, cold depths of the oceans, something unimaginably huge flows inexorably, barely a few centimeters per second, along a path it has traveled for millennia. Dense, dark rivers of water toil ceaselessly around the world, making up around 40 percent of the total volume of the deep oceans. They are gigantic conveyor belts transporting heat, oxygen, carbon, and nutrients around the planet, and shaping climate and weather at a global, regional, and local scale.
But something has changed, and these rivers appear to be slowing down. Unsurprisingly, climate change is likely to blame.
The sting in the tail is that the slowing of this abyssal machinery could actually speed up climate change, while also reducing the productivity of fisheries upon which so many organisms—including humans—depend for food.
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