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Old 28-06-2008, 13:10   #16
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The Atlantic Heat Conveyor:

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning circulation carries warm upper waters into far-northern latitudes and returns cold deep waters southward across the Equator. Itís heat transport makes a substantial contribution to the moderate climate of maritime and continental Europe, and any slowdown in the overturning circulation would have profound implications for climate change. A transatlantic section along latitude 25į N has been used as a baseline for estimating the overturning circulation and associated heat transport. Because it originates in the North Atlantic it is known as North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW).

Warm water from the Gulf Stream system moves west and north towards the Arctic, past Scotland, Norway and along the west coast of Spitzbergen. This warm water releases heat and moisture to the atmosphere above, making the climate in countries bordering the North Atlantic warmer and wetter than it would otherwise have been.
The Gulf Stream is the fast, warm, western boundary current that flows northwards past the US seaboard. The broader, slower flow that leaves the shores of America and heads across the Atlantic for Europe is the North Atlantic Drift Current. A branch of this flow turns back southwards along the coast of Africa as the Canary Current - a cool, eastern boundary current that completes the North Atlantic Ocean Gyre. However, a second branch of the North Atlantic Drift flows northwards along the west coast of Ireland and Scotland heading for Norway, where it becomes the Norwegian Current. Ultimately this warm current continues into the Barents Sea and also into the Arctic Ocean west of Svalbard, where it becomes the West Spitsbergen Current.
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