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Education: Climate

As computer models evolve, Aquarius will provide the essential SSS data needed to link the two major components of the climate system: the water cycle and ocean circulation.

Oceanographers believe that maintaining density-controlled ocean circulation is key to keeping ocean heat transport - and Earth's climate - in balance. Increases in SSS in high latitudes can increase seawater density and speed up the deep overturning circulation in the ocean. Conversely, decreases in SSS (e.g., by melting ice) may result in widespread decreases in seawater density, reducing its ability to sink. In a very simple model, decreasing SSS in the North Atlantic would reduce the efficiency of the ocean "global conveyer belt" which helps to regulate global climate by moving heat from the tropics to higher latitudes.

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