How Ocean Conveyor Belt

- Dec 14, 2018-

The ocean moves differently, and one reason for its movement is the temperature circulation. The temperature circulation is like a conveyor belt that keeps the sea water moving. These temperature environments are caused by differences in seawater density; cold and salty seawater is denser and sinks to the bottom of the sea: warmer seawater has a lower density and rises to the surface. The source of this marine transport belt is in the Norwegian Sea. The warm waters are sent to the Norwegian Sea by the Gulf Stream, providing heat to the atmosphere in the northern high latitudes that are very cold in winter.The loss of heat causes the sea to cool, become heavier and sink to the bottom of the sea. As more warm seawater is sent to the north, the chilled seawater must sink and move south to move out of the warm seawater that is constantly coming in. This cold bottom water will travel south through the equator and all the way to Antarctica. Finally, these cold bottom waters will warm up and rise to the surface, continuing this global ocean belt. It takes almost a thousand years to walk the entire marine conveyor belt.


In this data set, warm surface waters are represented by red lines, and blue lines are cold bottom waters. Changes in marine conveyor belts will have a severe impact on the climate. The heat transferred along with the ocean conveyor belt can slightly alleviate the cold temperatures in the northern countries. But because of the warming of the two poles caused by climate change, water from the melting of ice and glaciers will enter the ocean. These melted fresh waters may slow or turn off these ocean circulations that depend on temperature and temperature differences. Because the melting fresh water is less dense than the salt-containing seawater, this causes the melted fresh water to form an insulation layer on the surface of the ocean, blocking the warm salty seawater to transfer heat to the atmosphere, and cooling to high latitudes.