FunNature & AnimalOcean currents from southern Africa help stabilize the climate...

Ocean currents from southern Africa help stabilize the climate in Europe

atlantico-norteTheGulf Stream(located in the Gulf of Mexico) has always attracted the attention of oceanographers and climatologists. This flow carries huge amounts ofwarm tropical waters to the North Atlantic and gives Europe its habitable climate. However, other currents are also important in relation to future North Atlantic current systems. This is revealed by an investigation published today inNature. Experts describe an alternative approach and underline the importance of a flow of water from the Indian Ocean to the South Atlantic (around the southern tip of Africa), the so-calledAgulhas stream.

This flow, located in the southwestern Indian Ocean,transports high salinity waters to the southern tip of Africa, where part of them escape to the South Atlantic, which contributes to the strength of the global circulation in this ocean. The work, in which Rainer Zahn, professor in the Physics department of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), has participated, describes how this contribution of salty waters from the Indian Ocean can compensate for the decrease in salinity in the North Atlantic and thus stabilize the Gulf Stream and the climate in Europe.

Combination of temperature and salinity

To demonstrate the dynamics of the Agulhas current, its sensitivity to climate change, and the way it transmits its signals to the North Atlantic, the researchers note that a combination of long-term studies of changes in the temperature and salinity of the stream is needed. current. It is also necessary to analyze the response of the flow to climatic changes in the past and to create more detailed computer simulation models. The article reviews the current knowledge and lists the steps to follow in order to evaluate in greater detail the processes involved in this system of currents, which have been simulated using computational climate models.

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