Antarctic deep oceans are more dynamic than expected CSIRO research finds.

CSIRO researchers say that the deep oceans around Antarctica are more variable than previously thought. This comes after an eight week expedition on the Aurora Australis that saw important information collected that provides an insight into the deep waters of the Southern Ocean.

Scientists have discovered that the deep waters of the Southern Ocean are cooler and less salty than they were ten years ago. Water is becoming fresher as the ice shelves of Antarctica are melting more rapidly. Most of the deep ocean around the Antarctic being less salty, is less dense.

The CSIRO also reports that ” the Flagship has derived the first multi-century record of deep ocean temperatures in the southern hemisphere from chemical analysis of corals living 1 000 metres deeep south of Tasmania.”

In an important scientific breakthrough the CSIRO scientists say that “the record indicates the ocean has cooled at this depth since 1750, consistent with warming of surface waters and changes in wind patterns. Preliminary results show that the western Tasman Sea may warm substantially faster than marine regions elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere which they say could have major implications for east-coast marine resources and regional climate change predictions.”

Dr Rintoul, leader of the expedition, said he was surprised at the extent and speed of the changes observed. He concluded from observations that the deep ocean is a much more dynamic environment than anticipated, and closely connected to the surface layers of the Southern Ocean.

Dr Rintoul says that the reasons for melting however are speculative and cannot be interpreted as evidence of climate change, they may be related to long term natural cycles or the hole in the ozone layer or a result of all these factors.

The more rapidly the surface of the sea is becoming warmer, the faster the ice is melting leading to lower salinity. The team expects to use the information gathered to predict the ways the Australian climate is influenced by long-term natural oceanographic cycles.

~ by abstraktbiblos on Friday, 18 April, 2008.

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