Scientists have gained a new understanding of how Antarctic ice forming below the sea plays a vital role in global water circulation.
The researchers found Antarctica’s undersea ice plays a pivotal role in linking the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans. The cold water that sinks to the bottom is called Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW).
The scientists found that it is important to understand the factors affecting the AABW since it affects ocean circulation, which is a key factor in climate change. The work is a collaboration between researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research and Aerospace Exploration Agency with Hokkaido University’s Institute of Low-Temperature Science, its Arctic Research Center and the Faculty of Fisheries science.
According to Kay Ohshima of the Hokkaido University team:
“We found surprising new results about the form of sea ice growth in a key AABW production site, close to Cape Darnley in Antarctica, with potentially wide implications for other areas. It is important to learn that such a major process is occurring underwater, revealing an aspect of the circulation system that has been at least partially obscured from view. Our next step is to incorporate these new processes into understanding of Southern Ocean biogeochemistry and carbon circulation, which will require significant new fieldwork and research.”
You can find the original study here.