URI oceanographers: Antarctic Circumpolar Current carries 20 percent more water than previous estimates

20140226_AntarcticPolarThree University of Rhode Island oceanographers have concluded that the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which transfers heat and energy around the globe, carries 20 percent more water than previous estimates. Quantifying how much water the Antarctic Cicumpolar Current carries is an important step in understanding climate change and validating the accuracy of climate and oceanographic models.

“It’s important to understand the dynamics of the current so we can understand the impacts of our changing climate,” said Kathleen Donohue, associate professor at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. “We want to know how the current will respond to changing conditions, so quantifying the transport gives important guidance to the climate models that are trying to predict the future.”
Donohue, along with URI Professor Randolph Watts and Marine Research Specialist Karen Tracey, will present the results of this research this week at the biennial Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu. The meeting is sponsored by the American Geophysical Union, The Oceanographic Society, and the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.