techno-vampire writes: The familiar model of Atlantic ocean currents that shows a discrete "conveyor belt" of deep, cold water flowing southward from the Labrador Sea is probably all wet.
New research led by Duke University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution relied on an armada of sophisticated floats to show that much of this water, originating in the sea between Newfoundland and Greenland, is diverted generally eastward by the time it flows as far south as Massachusetts. From there it disburses to the depths in complex ways that are difficult to follow.
A 50-year-old model of ocean currents had shown this southbound subsurface flow of cold water forming a continuous loop with the familiar northbound flow of warm water on the surface, called the Gulf Stream.
"Everybody always thought this deep flow operated like a conveyor belt, but what we are saying is that concept doesn't hold anymore," said Duke oceanographer Susan Lozier. "So it's going to be more difficult to measure these climate change signals in the deep ocean."