Warming Tasman sea global warming hot spot

Posted: 01/30/2012 in all marine news

Hydro International – 

Oceanographers have identified a series of ocean hotspots around the world generated by strengthening wind systems that have driven oceanic currents, including the East Australian Current, polewards beyond their known boundaries.

The hotspots have formed alongside ocean currents that wash the east coast of the major continents and their warming proceeds at a rate far exceeding the average rate of ocean surface warming, according to an international science team whose work is published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Tasman Hot Spot Ocean currents

 

Paper co-author, CSIRO’s Dr Wenju Cai, said that while the finding has local ecological implications in the region surrounding the hotspots, the major influence is upon the ocean’s ability to take up heat and carbon from the atmosphere.

In Australia’s case, scientists report intensifying east-west winds at high latitudes (45º-55ºS) pushing southward and speeding up the gyre or swirl of currents circulating in the South Pacific, extending from South America to the Australian coast.  

The resulting changes in ocean circulation patterns have pushed the East Australian Current around 350 kilometres further south, with temperatures east of Tasmania as much as two degrees warmer than they were 60 years ago.

Full story…

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