Report

Recent Changes in the Ventilation of the Southern Oceans

Science  01 Feb 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6119, pp. 568-570
DOI: 10.1126/science.1225411

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Abstract

Surface westerly winds in the Southern Hemisphere have intensified over the past few decades, primarily in response to the formation of the Antarctic ozone hole, and there is intense debate on the impact of this on the ocean's circulation and uptake and redistribution of atmospheric gases. We used measurements of chlorofluorocarbon-12 (CFC-12) made in the southern oceans in the early 1990s and mid- to late 2000s to examine changes in ocean ventilation. Our analysis of the CFC-12 data reveals a decrease in the age of subtropical subantarctic mode waters and an increase in the age of circumpolar deep waters, suggesting that the formation of the Antarctic ozone hole has caused large-scale coherent changes in the ventilation of the southern oceans.

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