Global warming is accelerating the world’s strongest ocean current

Global warming is accelerating the worlds strongest ocean current

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is the most powerful ocean currents in the world. And thanks to new data, researchers now establish that it tends to accelerate … under the effect of the increase in sea temperature.

You will also be interested

[EN VIDÉO] Beauty of ocean currents
This computer modeling reveals the beauty and complexity of ocean currents observed from space between June 2005 and December 2007. © Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / YouTube

Circumpolar current Antarctic (ACC) appeared about 30 million years ago. Today it is the link between the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It is also quite simply the most powerful ocean current on our planet. It thus transports around Antarctica, more than 165 million cubic meters of water per second. No less than a hundred times the debit of all rivers of the world. And an international team of researchers is telling us today that ACC is accelerating. A discovery based on satellite measurements and data collected by the global Argo ocean float network.

In question, you guessed it: the anthropogenic global warming. More precisely, the warming of the waters. The researchers assure that, despite the fact that this current is considered to be mainly driven by the wind, the acceleration of the prevailing westerly winds under the effect of the increase in the temperature of theair would, here, rather tend to energize the oceanic eddies which go against the main currents.

And it could accelerate global warming

This Antarctic circumpolar current is like a demarcation between the warm subtropical waters and the cooler waters of theAntarctic. However, the hottest part of the Southern Ocean absorbs a large part of the heat generated by human activities. Hence the importance of better understanding its dynamics. For the essential role that ACC plays in regulating our climate.

As the acceleration of the ACC appears to be closely related to the gradient temperature in the region, researchers now expect its speed increases more and more as the Southern Ocean continues to absorb heat. Enough to promote the rise to the surface of deep water laden with CO2. And ultimately decrease, the ocean’s ability to regulate warming.

Interested in what you just read?