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The pursuit of scientific progress

Sometimes you have to go to the ends of the earth in the pursuit of scientific progress. The oceans cover 70% of our planet and yet there is still much we don’t know about the flow of water around and through them.

To predict future climate we need to find out how global ocean flows may be changing over time. Some ocean waters are very salty and some are very cold. The big unknown is how much these different waters mix together because this has a massive effect on ocean flows.

[youtube width="250" height="217"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQOnjeY_WC0&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

For a while now scientists have suspected that there are a few key mixing hot-spots in the world’s oceans and that one of them may be in Drake Passage. But how can we check? Well, satellites can give us information about the sea surface, but to look below the surface we are largely dependent on scientists going to sea and taking measurements themselves.

So recently I helped lead a team of UK and US colleagues to the remote and inhospitable Southern Ocean on a mission to investigate…

3 Responses to “The pursuit of scientific progress”

  1. I’m not really clear why greater volumes of water mixing has such an effect on the environment. I understand why rising sea levels are bad but I’m not clear as to what bearing the different types of water mixing has on it all.

    • Andrew Brousseau says:

      @energy management – well the antarctic is one of the major sinks of surface ocean water. The surface ocean water is always trying to be in gaseous equilibrium with the atmosphere. This you can see, relates to atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
      Also, the deep sea dynamics can tell you about the current antarctic climate. Stronger winds around the continent will produce stronger currents, and thus different deep mixing patterns. Look up the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, it goes west to east all the way around the southern pole.

  2. taking the hypothesis of the magnetic shift as a
    The scientific readings of the ice melting (epica, vostok, ice volume graph) show the rising level and ice age cycles. In short the global warning indicates we are at the peak of the cycle. heading towards colder weather.

    This could propel us to rising sea levels or the other alternative would revolve around the polar shift hypothesis

    If the magnetic poles where to shift as the have done previously, this could cause seismic movement of unprecedented levels

    Basic physics tells us that the displacement of this land will cause the water to cover low lying land thus affecting coastal areas.

    What are we to do against rising sea level? As it seams that there are many scientific ways to rationalise this as a possible future scenario.

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