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Icelandic scientists discover new ocean current

(Xinhua)

10:21, August 26, 2011

STOCKHOLM, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Two Icelandic scientists have discovered a deep-ocean current that flows along the Eurasian continental shelf off north Iceland, according to a report from Reykjavik on Thursday.

"The discovery which might rewrite the climate change and global warming theory has aroused international attention," the Iceland Review report said.

The current, which is known as the North Icelandic Jet, was first studied and described by two of the Icelandic Marine Research Institute's specialists, Steingrimur Jonsson and Hedinn Valdimarsson, Icelandic media Frettabladid reported.

Jonsson explained that there is a heat-salt circulation in the ocean, working like a conveyor belt. Warm seawater flows to the north where it cools and sinks, and then a deep ocean current is formed which flows back south along the ocean floor until it eventually resurfaces and warms up again.

This circulation is to a large extent controlled by the world's climate and the theory is that if this ocean conveyor belt is weakened the climate would cool in the northern hemisphere, the report said.

However, according to Jonsson, the importance of the discovery is that North Icelandic Jet changes this picture and the theory on the effect of global warming in the northern hemisphere.

The Icelandic Marine Research Institute and its American counterpart Woods Hole are now collaborating to research further on the origin of North Icelandic Jet and its implications.

Woods Hole's research vessel Knorr headed out from Reykjavik on Monday on a month-long expedition to map the North Icelandic Jet in more detail and search for its origins.

It is possible that the North Icelandic Jet's presence off Iceland means that the heat-salt circulation was not as vulnerable to the melting of the Greenland icecap and there are two deep ocean currents which can reduce the impact of melting glaciers.


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