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ine Circulation – Currents: NOAA’s National Ocean Service Education
Winds drive ocean currents in the upper 100 meters of the ocean’s surface. However, ocean currents also flow thousands of meters below the surface. These deep-ocean currents are driven by differences in the water’s density, which is controlled by temperature (thermo) and salinity (haline). This process is known as thermohaline circulation.
In the Earth’s polar regions ocean water gets very cold, forming sea ice. As a consequence the surrounding seawater gets saltier, because when sea ice forms, the salt is left behind. As the seawater gets saltier, its density increases, and it starts to sink. Surface water is pulled in to replace the sinking water, which in turn eventually becomes cold and salty enough to sink. This initiates the deep-ocean currents driving the global conveyer belt.
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Frequently Asked Questions About how is thermohaline circulation influenced by salinity and temperature?
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In a thermohaline circulation pattern quizlet, how do temperature and salinity relate to one another?
Temperature and salinity are related in a thermohaline circulation pattern, which is the mixing and circulation of ocean water based on density. The name thermohaline refers to the fact that the density of water is primarily dependent on its temperature and salinity.
What impact does thermohaline circulation have on the earth’s temperature?
The rate of sea ice formation near the poles is affected by the thermohaline circulation, which in turn affects other aspects of the climate system (such as the albedo, and thus solar heating, at high latitudes). The thermohaline circulation plays a significant role in supplying heat to the polar regions.
What impact do temperature and salinity have on water flow?
To relate this to ocean currents, b>the higher the salinity of ocean water, the more dense it becomes/b>. When the salinity is high enough, the water will sink, beginning a convection current. Warmer water can hold more salt and other molecules than cold water; it can have a higher salinity.
What causes the circulation of the thermohaline?
The formation of deep water masses in the North Atlantic and Southern Ocean brought on by variations in water temperature and salinity is what primarily drives the thermohaline circulation.
What connection exists between temperature and salinity?
When comparing two samples of water with the same salinity or mass, the water sample with the higher temperature will have a greater volume and will therefore be less dense. The warmer the water, the more space it takes up, and the lower its density.
What kind of relationship does salinity and temperature have?
Seawater with a lower salinity is lighter in density and won’t sink as much as water with a higher salinity, which alters ocean currents. Increases in surrounding entity temperatures, such as ice, and an increase in precipitation add fresh water into the sea, which lowers salinity.
What causes a slowdown or cessation of the thermohaline circulation?
“The additional fresh water made the ocean surface less dense and it stopped sinking, effectively shutting down the thermohaline circulation,” Schlesinger said. “As a result, Greenland cooled by about 7 degrees Celsius within several decades.
What causes thermohaline circulation to lag?
How Will A Slowing Ocean Circulation Impact Me? As AMOC slows, it can have dramatic effects on the climate and weather of especially North America and Europe. This thermohaline circulation is what scientists fear is slowing down due to the fresh water cap from melting icebergs in the North Atlantic.
What impact do temperature and salinity have?
In all three of our model configurations, increasing ocean salinity leads to warming, especially at high latitudes (Figure 1) and decreased sea ice extent (Figure 2). Conversely, decreasing ocean salinity results in a global average decrease in surface temperature and an increase in sea ice extent.
What are impacted by salinity and temperature?
Water density is influenced by temperature and salinity; freshwater is less dense than seawater, and the ocean has a complex circulation system known as the Global Ocean Conveyor.
What two things affect the circulation of the thermohaline?
The term “thermohaline circulation” refers to the movement of water in the ocean that depends on both temperature and salinity, which together affect the density of seawater.
What occurs when the salinity of the water rises?
The freezing point of water drops as salinity rises (29), which means that an ocean with a higher salinity has less potential to form sea ice and stays ice-free at much lower temperatures.
What factors affect salinity and what are their effects?
Evaporation of ocean water and formation of sea ice both increase the salinity of the ocean. However these “salinity raising” factors are continually counterbalanced by processes that decrease salinity such as the continuous input of fresh water from rivers, precipitation of rain and snow, and melting of ice.
What interferes with the thermohaline circulation?
By making the seawater less dense and sinking more slowly, freshwater entering the Atlantic Ocean from melting ice sheets, river runoff, and increased precipitation can weaken thermohaline circulation.
How does the ocean’s thermohaline current slow down as a result of climate change?
Warming temperatures weaken currents because the water at the poles simply won’t be as cold and dense, and the melting of the Greenland continental ice sheet is dumping freshwater into the salty ocean, changing the density of the water masses.
What could slow the circulation of the ocean?
Climate scientists predicted that the ocean circulation would weaken in response to global warming for decades, and the slowdown of the circulation is directly caused by rising global temperatures.