New deep current `found in Southern Ocean`
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Last Updated: Thursday, May 27, 2010, 11:56
Washington: Scientists claim to have located a very strong deep current in the Indian Ocean sector of Southern Ocean, which is an important part of the network that influences climate patterns.

A joint Japanese Australian team has found the ocean current with a volume equivalent to 40 Amazon Rivers near the Kerguelen plateau, in the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean, 4200 kilometres southwest of Perth.

According to the scientists, the current, more than three kilometres below the Ocean's surface, is an important pathway in a global network of ocean currents that influence climate patterns.

"The current carries dense, oxygen rich water that sinks near Antarctica to the deep ocean basins further north," said co-scientist Dr Steve Rintoul of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC and CSIRO's Wealth from Oceans Flagship.

"Without this supply of Antarctic water, the deepest levels of the ocean would have little oxygen. The ocean influences climate by storing and transporting heat and carbon dioxide -- the more the ocean stores, the slower the rate of climate change.

"The deep current along the Kerguelen Plateau is part of a global system of ocean currents called the overturning circulation, which determines how much heat and carbon the ocean can soak up," he added.


First Published: Thursday, May 27, 2010, 11:56

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