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Conveyor Belt of the Ocean [720p]

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Uploaded on Nov 2, 2011

The ocean is not a still body of water. There is constant motion in the ocean in the form of a global ocean conveyor belt due to thermohaline currents. These currents are density driven, which are affected by both temperature and salinity. Cold, salty water is dense and sinks to the bottom of the ocean while warm water is less dense and rises to the surface. The "start" of the ocean conveyor belt is in the Norwegian Sea. Warm water is transported to the Norwegian Sea by the Gulf Stream. The warm water provides heat for the atmosphere in the northern latitudes that gets particularly cold during the winter. This loss of heat to the atmosphere makes the water cooler and denser, causing it to sink to the bottom of the ocean. As more warm water is transported north, the cooler water sinks and moves south to make room for the incoming warm water. This cold bottom water flows south of the equator all the way down to Antarctica. Eventually, the cold bottom waters are able to warm and rise to the surface, continuing the conveyor belt that encircles the global. It takes water almost 1000 years to move through the whole conveyor belt.

credit: NOAA

source: http://sos.noaa.gov/datasets/Ocean/oc...

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