Professor Ed Hill, executive director of the NOC, said: "The Antarctic Circumpolar Current
is key to understanding the dynamics of the global ocean, so these sustained observations are incredibly important.
The paper, titled "Impact of Antarctic Circumpolar Current
development on late Paleogene ocean structure," is published in the May 27, 2011, issue of Science.
There are no very accurate data on the amount of water transported by the Antarctic circumpolar current
because of the variability of flow over time at different scales and the lack of in situ measurements, meaning the only calculations that can be made are simply estimates.
The Antarctic Circumpolar Current
as a diversification trigger for deep-sea octocorals.
The horizontal circulation of the Southern Ocean, which allows climate signals to propagate across the major ocean basins, is marked by eddies and the meandering fronts of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current
"Eventually, the iceberg will move further north; it will be picked up by wind and ocean currents - and the primary ocean current there is the Antarctic Circumpolar Current
. We will certainly be following it," Dr Studinger added.
Increased mixing in the Pacific and Indian oceans during glacial periods could have increased the amount of water moved by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current
by about 30 percent, the authors suggest.
LiveScience explains that the Gulf Stream sends warmer waters towards the North Pole while the Antarctic Circumpolar Current
blocks some of the warm waters from reaching the South Pole, hence the temperature discrepancy.
OFF the southern tip of South America, a jet of cold water branches off the Antarctic Circumpolar Current
, which loops in a continuous eastward-flowing cycle in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.
Their analysis of satellite-derived ocean height and temperature measurements revealed undulations in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current
, a body of water that circles eastward between Antarctica and the Indian, Pacific and Indian oceans.
While such "hotspots" of roughness in the seafloor are expected to contribute to turbulence in the deepest water, the data revealed a 20-fold increase in mixing at around 1,500 meters of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current
as it flowed through the Drake Passage and in some other locations with undersea mountains.