PerspectiveOceanography

Oceanic Salt Switch

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Science  29 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5599, pp. 1724-1725
DOI: 10.1126/science.1079238

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Summary

Salinity and temperature, the two determinants of the density of ocean waters, play an important role in ocean circulation. In today's ocean, the saltiest deep waters derive from the northern North Atlantic. But as Boyle explains in his Perspective, the situation was very different during the last glaciation. He highlights the report by Adkins et al., who show that the saltiest waters then formed in the Southern Ocean. The ocean circulation must thus differ substantially between glacial and interglacial periods.