Off the coast of Antarctica, trillions of tonnes of cold salty water sink to great depths. As the water sinks, it drives the deepest flows of the “overturning” circulation – a network of strong currents spanning the world’s oceans. The overturning circulation carries heat, carbon, oxygen and nutrients around the globe, and fundamentally influences climate, sea level and the productivity of marine ecosystems.
But there are worrying signs these currents are slowing down. They may even collapse.
Torrents of Antarctic meltwater are slowing the currents that drive vital ocean overturning