A case study of global warming effect on the climate of Western Europe.
Massive amounts of water move in the ocean currents, transporting warmth, nutrients and animal life through thousands of miles. Some of the currents warm entire continents, bringing life to regions that would otherwise be locked in constant arctic cold. Others carry food for wildlife, contributing to rich and productive ecology.
To understand the enormous power of these currents, consider that in a single hour, the Antarctic Circumpolar current, one of the planet’s largest, moves over 450 billion tons of water. And even the ocean’s smallest currents may move more water than the entire continent’s rivers combined.
The ocean currents draw their power from a combination of the wind on the sea and the difference between the densities of various types of water. Currents near the surface are generally powered by the wind. Because of the Earth’s rotation, winds tend to drive currents clockwise in the northern hemisphere. South of the equator, they flow in the opposite direction. Deep below the surface, difference in water temperature and salinity propel the deep-sea currents that bind the world’s oceans together.
Some of ocean currents are only a few miles long, and others extend over thousands of miles and encompass vast areas of water. Some are cut short by landmasses, and others take detours around islands. Only the Antarctic Circumpolar current flows all the way around the Earth uninterrupted. For at least 25 million years, the Antarctic Circumpolar current has helped insulate the waters around Antarctica from other oceans. The current helps keep warmer waters away from the continent. Ocean currents help transport heat and cold, playing a key role in the Earth’s climate. There is therefore a need for data, so that the scientist may keep track of the currents strength, natural variation and any alterations that may arise as a result of the climate change....