Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




ICE WORLD
Newly discovered Icelandic current could change climate picture
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Aug 24


This is the Northern Denmark Strait showing newly discovered deep current, in relation to known pathway. Credit: WHOI.

If you'd like to cool off fast in hot summer weather, take a dip in a newly discovered ocean current called the North Icelandic Jet (NIJ). You'd need to be far, far below the sea's surface near Iceland, however, to reach it. Scientists have confirmed the presence of the NIJ, a deep-ocean circulation system off Iceland. It could significantly influence the ocean's response to climate change.

The NIJ contributes to a key component of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), critically important for regulating Earth's climate.

As part of the planet's reciprocal relationship between ocean circulation and climate, the AMOC transports warm surface water to high latitudes where the water warms the air, then cools, sinks and returns toward the equator as a deep flow.

Crucial to this warm-to-cold oceanographic choreography is the Denmark Strait Overflow Water (DSOW), the largest of the deep, overflow plumes that feed the lower limb of the AMOC and return the dense water south through gaps in the Greenland-Scotland Ridge.

For years it has been thought that the primary source of the Denmark Overflow was a current adjacent to Greenland known as the East Greenland Current.

However, this view was recently called into question by two oceanographers from Iceland who discovered a deep current flowing southward along the continental slope of Iceland.

They named the current the North Icelandic Jet and hypothesized that it formed a significant part of the overflow water.

Now, in a paper published in the August 21st online issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, the team of researchers--including the two Icelanders who discovered the current--has confirmed that the Icelandic Jet is not only a major contributor to the DSOW but "is the primary source of the densest overflow water."

"We present the first comprehensive measurements of the NIJ," said Robert Pickart of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Instititution in Massachusetts, one of the co-authors of the paper.

"Our data demonstrate that the NIJ indeed carries overflow water into Denmark Strait and is distinct from the East Greenland Current. The NIJ constitutes approximately half of the total overflow transport and nearly all of the densest component."

The researchers used a numerical model to hypothesize where and how the NIJ is formed.

"These results implicate water mass transformation and exchange near Iceland as central contributors to the deep limb of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, and raise new questions about how global ocean circulation will respond to future climate change," said Eric Itsweire, program director in the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Ocean Sciences, which funded the research.

"We've identified a new paradigm," Pickart said, likely a new, overturning loop of warm to cold water.

The results, Pickart says, have "important ramifications" for ocean circulation's impact on climate.

Scientists have been concerned that this overturning loop--some call it a conveyor belt--is slowing down due to a rise in global temperatures.

They suggest that increasing amounts of fresh water from melting ice and other warming-related phenomena are making their way into the northern North Atlantic, where it could freeze and decrease the need for the loop to deliver as much warm water as it does now.

Eventually, this could lead to a colder climate in the northern hemisphere.

While this scenario is far from certain, researchers need to understand the overturning process, Pickart said, to make accurate predictions about the future of climate and circulation interaction.

"If a large fraction of the overflow water comes from the NIJ, then we need to re-think how quickly the warm-to-cold conversion of the AMOC occurs, as well as how this process might be altered under a warming climate," said Pickart.

Pickart and a team of scientists from the U.S., Iceland, Norway, and the Netherlands are scheduled to embark on August 22nd on a cruise aboard the research vessel Knorr. They will collect new information on the overturning in the Iceland Sea.

"During our upcoming cruise we will deploy an array of year-long moorings across the entire Denmark Strait to quantify the NIJ and distinguish it from the East Greenland Current," Pickart said.

"Then we'll collect shipboard measurements in the Iceland Sea to the north of the mooring line to determine more precisely where and how the NIJ originates."

The cruise will be chronicled at the North Icelandic Jet Cruise website. In addition to Pickart, authors of the Nature Geoscience paper include Michael Spall and Daniel Torres of WHOI; lead author Kjetil Vage, and co-authors Svein Østerhus and Tor Eldevik, all of the University of Bergen, Norway; and Heoinn Valdimarsson and Steingrimur Jonsson--the co-discoverers of the NIJ--of the Marine Research Institute in Reykjavik, Iceland. The Research Council of Norway also funded the work.

.


Related Links
National Science Foundation
Beyond the Ice Age






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ICE WORLD
Thawing Permafrost Could Accelerate Climate Change By Century End
Berkeley CA (SPX) Aug 24, 2011
Billions of tons of carbon trapped in high-latitude permafrost may be released into the atmosphere by the end of this century as the Earth's climate changes, further accelerating global warming, a new computer modeling study indicates. The study also found that soil in high-latitude regions could shift from being a sink to a source of carbon dioxide by the end of the 21st century as the so ... read more


ICE WORLD
Man in the Moon Looking Younger

GRAIL Moon Twins are Joined to Their Booster

Moon younger than previously thought

GRAIL Launch Less Than One Month Away

ICE WORLD
Russian, European space agencies to team up for Mars mission

New Rover Snapshots Capture Endeavour Crater Vistas

France, Russia talk of Mars mission

Possibility of Mars microbial life eyed

ICE WORLD
Recent grad's astro feats regarded as research crown 'joule'

Draper Spacesuit Could Keep NASA Astronauts Stable, Healthier in Space

NASA Picks Three Proposals for Flight Demonstration

NASA Selects XCOR to Participate in Suborbital Flight Contract

ICE WORLD
Chinese orbiter launch failure will not affect unmanned space module launch

Rocket malfunction causes satellite to not reach preset orbit

China satellite aborts mission after 'malfunction'

Pausing for Tiangong

ICE WORLD
ISS crew safe despite supply failure: Russia, US

Robonaut successfully passes first test on ISS

Russian Progress space freighter set to undock from ISS

First 3D video transmission live from space

ICE WORLD
Russian spaceship crashes back to Earth

Russia grounds rockets after launch failure

Russia loses contact with new satellite

China successfully launches maritime satellite

ICE WORLD
Astronomers Find Ice and Possibly Methane on Snow White

Hubble to Target 'Hot Jupiters'

Stellar eclipse gives glimpse of exoplanet

Alien World is Blacker than Coal

ICE WORLD
Dutch judge slaps ban on Samsung smartphones

NRL Set to Launch Experimental TacSat-4 Spacecraft

New theory may shed light on dynamics of large-polymer liquids

Sony remodels PlayStation Home




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement