News of the WeekOceanography

Has a Great River in the Sea Slowed Down?

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Science  05 Nov 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5442, pp. 1061-1062
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5442.1061a

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For many millions of years, two "rivers" of seawater have been flushing the deep sea clean while shuttling chemicals and heat so as to reshape climate. Now, a new analysis of oceanographic data, presented on page 1132, suggests that one of the two rives has slowed dramatically within the past century, with implications for climate and the humans who are changing it. This huge, climate-altering change in the oceans--if it's real--would greatly complicate attempts to understand how the ocean and climate are responding to another influence on climate, the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.