Arctic Runoff Not Affecting Ocean Conveyor Belt

A new study by NASA and University of Washington allays concerns that melting Arctic sea ice could be increasing the amount of fresh water in the Arctic enough to have an impact on the global “ocean conveyor belt” that redistributes heat around our planet.

Lead author and oceanographer Jamie Morison of the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Seattle and his team detected a previously unknown redistribution of fresh water during the past decade from the Eurasian half of the Arctic Ocean to the Canadian half. Yet despite the redistribution, they found no change in the net amount of fresh water in the Arctic that might signal a change in the conveyor belt.

This study ties into the NASA Now: Aquarius program (preview below) on the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus. View this episode before discussing the article with your students.

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Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

Preview of NASA Now: Aquarius