Salt Fingers Mix the Sea

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Science  08 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5561, pp. 1821
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5561.1821a

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At last month's Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu, physical oceanographers reported the first direct measurement of the power of "salt fingering," in which interweaving fingers of water flow up and down between distinct layers of seawater. By following the spread of an inert chemical tracer, they found that salt fingering was mixing waters east of Barbados 10 times more effectively than stirring by currents and eddies was. Other presentations discussed the " rotten steppingstone " route of mussels into the deep sea and a mood swing in the North Pacific.