How does thermohaline circulation affect climate?

Is climate change caused by the thermohaline cycle?

The ocean’s thermohaline circulation has long been recognized as potentially unstable and has consequently been invoked as a potential cause of abrupt climate change on all timescales of decades and longer.

What does thermohaline circulation cause?

This process is known as thermohaline circulation. In the Earth’s polar regions ocean water gets very cold, forming sea ice. As a consequence the surrounding seawater gets saltier, because when sea ice forms, the salt is left behind. As the seawater gets saltier, its density increases, and it starts to sink.

How does Circulation impact global climate?

The combination of oceanic and atmospheric circulation drives global climate by redistributing heat and moisture. Areas located near the tropics remain warm and relatively wet throughout the year. In temperate regions, variation in solar input drives seasonal changes.

What would happen if the thermohaline circulation stopped?

– If global warming shuts down the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean, the result could be catastrophic climate change. … Between Greenland and Norway, the water cools, sinks into the deep ocean, and begins flowing back to the south.

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How does the thermohaline circulation work?

The basic thermohaline circulation is one of sinking of cold water in the polar regions, chiefly in the northern North Atlantic and near Antarctica. These dense water masses spread into the full extent of the ocean and gradually upwell to feed a slow return flow to the sinking regions.

How does thermohaline circulation affect Europe?

A northwards branch of the Gulf Stream, the North Atlantic Drift, is part of the thermohaline circulation (THC), transporting warmth further north to the North Atlantic, where its effect in warming the atmosphere contributes to warming Europe.

How does thermohaline circulation differ from wind driven surface circulation?

thermohaline circulation

Wind-driven circulation, which is strongest in the surface layer of the ocean, is the more vigorous of the two and is configured as large gyres that dominate an ocean region. In contrast, thermohaline circulation is much slower, with a typical speed of 1 centimetre (0.4…

How does salinity affect ocean circulation?

Since warmer water thus can hold more salt and other molecules than cold water; it can have a higher salinity. To relate this to ocean currents, the higher the salinity of ocean water, the more dense it becomes. When the salinity is high enough, the water will sink, starting a convection current.

What are the 5 major factors that affect climate?

LOWERN

  • Latitude. It depends on how close or how far it is to the equator. …
  • Ocean currents. Certain ocean currents have different temperatures. …
  • Wind and air masses. Heated ground causes air to rise which results in lower air pressure. …
  • Elevation. The higher up you are, the colder and drier it will be. …
  • Relief.
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