Associated Press= AMSTERDAM (AP) — Scientists are monitoring a massive pool of fresh water in the Arctic Ocean that could spill into the Atlantic and potentially alter the key ocean currents that give Western Europe its moderate climate.
The oceanographers said Tuesday the unusual accumulation has been caused by Siberian and Canadian rivers dumping more water into the
If it flushes into the
German researcher Benjamin Rabe, of the Alfred Wegener Institute, said the Arctic's fresh water content had increased 20 percent since the 1990s — about 8,400 cubic kilometers. That is the equivalent of all the water in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron together or double the volume of water in Lake Victoria,
Increased runoff from the great northern rivers "could potentially impact the large scale ocean circulation in the
The Thermohaline current loops like a conveyer belt from the tropics to the
That cycle could be affected when the pool of fresh water is released into the
The two scientists spoke to The Associated Press as part of a European Union initiative, called Clamer, to collate and publicize information from 300 EU-funded research projects conducted over the last 13 years on climate change and marine ecology. Rabe and colleagues from the Alfred Wegener Institute in
De Steur said most of the excess fresh water has collected in the
"It's important to monitor this to see if this can be transported to the Atlantic, where it might potentially effect the
Rabe cautioned that scientists have not been studying the situation long enough to predict what may happen, and the results of model simulations also were inconclusive.