Environmental Science

Messy Mediterranean Outflows

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Science  15 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5524, pp. 1967
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5524.1967c

Waters from the Mediterranean Sea are saltier and thus denser than those of the Atlantic Ocean. This difference results in a flow of water at depth through the Strait of Gibraltar, and this has been an important source of intermediate water in the Atlantic Ocean. This flow can be mapped for some distance and may even influence Atlantic Ocean circulation. Martí et al. now show that this flow may also be an important contributor to organic pollution in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. Hydrophobic organic pollutants, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are transported primarily as small particles, and the total flux of such pollutants could amount to several tons per year. - BH

Environ. Sci. Technol., in press.

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