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Atlantic Conveyor Belt System - Essay Example

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The Atlantic conveyor belt system was observed by scientists to have sped up the water circulation in the past years (NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory 2010). The Atlantic conveyor belt, which is also termed Thermohaline circulation, is one of the major ocean currents driven by…
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Atlantic Conveyor Belt System
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Download file to see previous pages In detailed, ocean waters circulate around the world in patterns due to factors including the differences in solar energy received by the equator and the poles, topography of the ocean floor and coastal land masses, changes in seawater density, rotation of Earth around its axis, and atmospheric winds. The pattern of the Atlantic conveyor belt is the northward flow of warm surface waters from the Caribbean along the Atlantic coast of the United States, known as the Gulf Stream. As the warm waters reach the North Atlantic, it becomes denser due to the lowering of temperature, and becomes more saline from the evaporation of surface water and formation of ice. Denser water sinks forming a cold bottom current in the Atlantic. The current then circulates to the south towards Antarctica and turn eastward. By passing across the equator, the water becomes warm, rises to the surface and veers westward towards the Atlantic Ocean (Bloom 2011).
Moreover, the Scientists of the National Aeronotics Space Administration once suspected that the speed of the Atlantic conveyor belt has slowed down. However, using recent measurements of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation show no significant slowing of overturning over the past 15 years NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2010). On the contrary, it was found out that water circulation had sped up about 20 percent from 1993 to 2009 (NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory 2010).
The circulation of the Atlantic Ocean is very important in the climate system. The warm currents contribute to the higher average temperatures of about 5°C in the East Coast of the United States, Europe, and Scandinavia compared to other land masses along the same latitude (Bloom 2011). In general, warm currents transport energy from the tropics to the sub polar North Atlantic. It also influences weather and climate patterns. Cold currents facilitate the transfer of carbon from ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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