Jan 1, 2021
The thermohaline circulation
How oceans regulate climate

The ocean is the planet’s largest store of water, heat and carbon and therefore plays a most fundamental role in regulating global climate.The ocean and the atmosphere are inherently linked and form the basis of our climate and weather system.

Wind-driven currents largely drive the circulation of the surface layer of the water column and density-driven currents drive the circulation of deeper ocean waters. This amounts to a global water transport system called the thermohaline circulation, also known as the global ocean conveyor belt that is density driven and responsible for stabilizing our climate by distributing thermal energy from the equator to the poles.

Since 1971 the ocean has absorbed 93% of anthropogenically created heat, and has thus far protected earth’s climate from changing more quickly. Owing partially to its size but also to the high heat storing capacity of water, the ocean absorbs large amounts of solar energy, which has made our climate habitable for humans, impacts wind generation and atmospheric conditions.


Credits to Maja Krass – Bachelor Thesis World Bachelor in Business Program: “How Private Vessels Can Aid Marine Scientific Research”, April 2020

“Explaining Ocean Warming – Sprep.” https://www.sprep.org/attachments/VirLib/Global/explaining-ocean-warming.pdf

“Ocean Warming: From the Surface to the Deep in ….” 9 Dec. 2018,  https://tos.org/oceanography/article/ocean-warming-from-the-surface-to-the-deep-in-observations-and-models

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