A new study from the University of California shows, for the first time, that the deep-ocean circulation system of the north Atlantic, which controls ice-age cycles of cold and warm periods in the Northern Hemisphere, is integrally coupled to salinity levels in the Caribbean Sea.
This research reinforces concerns that global warming, by melting the glacial ice of Greenland, could quickly and profoundly change salinity and temperatures in the north Atlantic Ocean. One consequence might be much colder weather in northern Europe and Britain and perhaps even in eastern Canada and the U.S. northeast.
The study is published by the journal Nature in its online edition today (March 10) and its print edition tomorrow. The authors are graduate student Matthew Schmidt and geology professor Howard Spero of UC Davis, and geology professor David Lea of UC Santa Barbara.
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