What Is the Thermohaline Circulation?

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Science  08 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5596, pp. 1179-1181
DOI: 10.1126/science.1079329

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The term "thermohaline circulation" is widely used in the context of past and future climate change. In his Perspective, Wunsch argues that there are many different, and inconsistent, definitions for this term. He defines ocean circulation in terms of mass fluxes, which are largely driven by surface forces such as wind and tides, and argues that thermohaline circulation should only refer to the separate transport of heat and salinity in the ocean.