ECCO Helps Debunk the "Ocean Conveyor Belt"

Meridional effective ocean heat transport over the globe (black) and within ocean basins (colors)
Meridional effective ocean heat transport over the globe and within ocean basins.
Meridional effective ocean heat transport over the globe (black) and within ocean basins (colors)
Meridional effective ocean heat transport over the globe and within ocean basins.
[01-Apr-2019] Earth's climate is regulated by the exchange and storage of heat between the ocean and the atmosphere. Thus, it is important to understand the pathways of ocean heat. This includes distinguishing between heat that is exchanged with our atmosphere - potentially warming our climate - and heat that merely circulates within our ocean. Investigators have used ECCO's state-of-the-art, global gridded data product to provide a new perspective on ocean heat transport.
Investigators used ECCO to help identify heat pathways that are confined within the ocean. Removing such internal "ocean heat loops" reveals the ocean's net effect on Earth's heat budget. Overall, their findings show distinct differences in the net effect of heat transport for each major ocean basin. Moreover, their study concludes that effective heat transport between ocean basins is smaller than expected. This contrasts with the widely held conceptual model of heat traveling through the ocean as a semi-continuous "global conveyor belt."

Reference

Forget, G. and Ferreira, D. (2019). Global Ocean Heat Transport Dominated by Heat Export from the Tropical Pacific, Nat, Geosci., 12, 351-354, doi: 10.1038/s41561-019-0333-7.
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