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Science

Ocean Currents Impacted Ancient Global Cooling

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is the strongest current system in the world oceans and links the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific basins.

New research that has been published in the journal Science has showed that the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) may have played a key role in shifting the global climate some 38 million years ago, and provides the first clue that the early ACC may have played a critical part in the formation of the current structure of our oceans.

The research, detailed in the paper “Impact of Antarctic Circumpolar Current development on late Paleogene ocean structure,” and published in the May 27, 2011, issue of Science, was led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute scientist Miriam Katz.

“What we have found is that the evolution of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current influenced global ocean circulation much earlier than previous studies have shown,” said Katz, who is assistant professor of earth and environmental science at Rensselaer. “This finding is particularly significant because it places the impact of initial shallow ACC circulation in the same interval when the climate began its long-term shift to cooler temperatures.”

Source: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute




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