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Lecture 13

EARTHSS 3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Antarctic Intermediate Water, Thermohaline Circulation, Ocean Current

1 pages86 viewsSpring 2018

Earth System Science
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Deep ocean circulation
• Be able to describe and explain how, where, and why deep water masses and
intermediate water masses form
- Deep ocean circulation result in small density differences in water masses called
thermohaline circulation b/c density affected by temperature and salinity
- Water from different locations are called water masses and have characteristic
temperatures and salinities
Which water would be densest?
- Cold and salty
- Warm water molecule are moved far apart while cold water molecule are tightly
packed together
- Intermediate waters
- Very cold but fresher water: antarctic intermediate water, north pacific
intermediate water
- Warmer buy very salty waters: mediterranean intermediate water
• Be able to describe, explain, and predict the stratification of different water masses
• Be able to describe and explain the importance of the thermohaline circulation and how
we can “trace” where deep water formation is happening
- The extra CO2 we are producing is also dissolving in surface ocean waters and sinking
to form deep waters helps to store carbon in oceans
What could reduce density in North Atlantic?
- More melting of land ice
Be able to describe and explain how the thermohaline circulation can change over time
and the effects of this
- Deep water formation drives deep ocean (thermohaline) circulation
- Iceberg armadas from icesheets
- Release freshwater into north atlantic
- Reduces salinity of seawater
- Reduces density so prevents water sinking
- Warm surface water not pulled so far north so temp fall around north atlantic
- Less deep water formation caused less heat to be transported north and so europe and
north america were much colder
Slowdown or weakening of circulation result in
- Climate change
- Carbon is stored in ocean
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