Spice and the Demon

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  22 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5401, pp. 498-499
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5401.498

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


One of the oldest mysteries of oceanography is how temperature and salt concentration interact in the midlatitude ocean. Measurements as a function of depth reveal a remarkably tight and predictable relation between temperature and salinity below the surface. In his Perspective, Schmitt discusses results presented in the same issue by Rudnick and Ferrari that offer some clues as to the solution of the puzzle. The new measurements suggest that internal mixing rather than atmospheric forcing may explain the temperature-salinity relation. Furthermore, the process of "salt fingering"--convective cells that transport heat and salt at different rates--appears to play an important role.