Ocean Conveyor Belt

- Feb 27, 2019-

Basic theory


Ocean Conveyor 1 Ocean Conveyor is a global temperature and salinity circulation system. Also known as "warm salt circulation" and "hot salt circulation". High-salinity, low-temperature seawater sinks in the northern North Atlantic Ocean and flows back to the equator from the deep sea to the south, reaching the Antarctic. It rises to the surface of the sea in the South Atlantic, the South Indian Ocean and the South Pacific, to the North Atlantic, the Indian Ocean and the North Pacific, and merges into a warm, low-salt ocean current that traverses the Indian Ocean from the tropical Pacific Ocean and bypasses southern Africa. Finally reaching the Atlantic Ocean is always north, forming a closed loop. Among them, in the North Atlantic Ocean, the sea surface is northward and the deep southward transmission is of special significance. It continuously brings the heat near the equator in the low latitude area and the low salinity seawater to the middle and high latitudes, thus easing. The temperature changes in the mid-high latitudes of the northern hemisphere maintain the balance of the global climate system.


The Ocean Belt is based on the age of the deep water. Surface water and deep water circulate around the earth about every 2000 years. In geological history, changes in oceanic conveyor belts can cause dramatic changes in the environment as depicted in the film "The Day After Tomorrow."

Multiple equilibrium states


1. The modern oceanic hot salt circulation state in which the Pacific Ocean has no deep water and the Atlantic Ocean has deep water.


2. Modern oceanic hot salt circulation in the Pacific Ocean with deep water generation and no deep water in the Atlantic Ocean


3. The modern oceanic hot salt circulation state of deep water generation in the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean


4. The modern oceanic hot salt circulation state without deep water formation in the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean

environmental impact


The circulation of the “ocean belt” depends on the difference in temperature and salinity in seawater, and global warming will threaten its operation. Because global warming directly leads to a large increase in glacial meltwater and precipitation in the mid-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, and warms the North Atlantic Ocean, which weakens the difference in temperature and salinity between the North Atlantic and the Equatorial Sea, which in turn makes “ The ocean belt "is attenuated and may even stagnate. Once this happens, the huge ocean current circulation system will collapse, and the mid-high latitudes of the northern hemisphere will be rapidly cooled, causing disturbances in the entire Earth's climate.


A distinctive feature of the modern oceanic hot salt circulation is that the ocean basins are in an asymmetrical state, which is mainly reflected in the active deep water formation in the North Atlantic Ocean, while the North Pacific Ocean can only form intermediate water, and its deep water is derived from the bottom water formed by the Antarctic. The deep water formed by the North Atlantic is rising by mixing. Affected by the asymmetry of the hot salt circulation, the average temperature of the North Atlantic sea surface is higher than the sea temperature of the North Pacific at the same latitude, causing the North Atlantic to release more heat and moisture to the atmosphere above it, under the influence of prevailing winds. Northern Europe on the eastern coast of the North Atlantic is much milder and more pleasant than the rest of the latitude.