According to one study, water from the Atlantic Ocean can take up to 2,800 years to travel around the planet, making a “big circle” of the world’s oceans before returning home.
Nearly half of them spend 1,000 years in the Pacific on a three-millennium voyage that also includes a visit to the Indian and Southern Oceans.
Researchers have found that a third of the water in the Atlantic Ocean takes around 300 years to return home, while around 20% spends 700 years traveling to greater depths and detouring to the sea. of Weddell, off Antarctica.
Scroll down for video
A long voyage: Water from the Atlantic Ocean can take up to 2,800 years to travel the planet, according to a study, making a “grand tour” of the world’s oceans before returning home. The route it takes is shown above in a still from an animated video
Around the World: Nearly half of the water in the Atlantic Ocean spends 1,000 years in the Pacific on a three-millennium journey that also includes a visit to the Indian and Southern Oceans
HOW LONG DOES ATLANTIC WATER TAKE TO TRAVEL THE WORLD?
Researchers have found that a third of the water in the Atlantic Ocean takes about 300 years to return home, passing through the Pacific, Indian and Southern oceans.
About 20% spend 700 years circling the planet because it reaches greater depths and detours through the Weddell Sea off Antarctica.
But nearly half of the water in the Atlantic Ocean may take 2,800 years to return, spending 1,000 years in the Pacific, oceanographers at the University of California, San Diego have said.
The two use most of the world’s ocean basins on their journey, according to data collected over 25 years.
It was analyzed by oceanographers at the University of California, San Diego, who wanted to estimate the time it takes for water to travel through the world’s ocean basins.
They said the research is the first to track water trajectories backed by such a large amount of real-world data while using a computer simulation known as the Ocean Circulation and Climate Estimate. (ECCO).
The ocean model incorporates over a billion data points from sources such as satellites and robotic free-drift floats.
It then merges this data into a global ocean simulation in the same way as weather forecasts.
“Thinking about the pathways that water parcels take around basins is a good way for us to conceptualize complex ocean circulation,” said Mete Uz of the National Science Foundation’s ocean science division.
“Doing this directly with drifting instruments would be prohibitively expensive, but computer models, which seek a solution consistent with all our measurements, provide an efficient way to do this kind of analysis.”
Last week, National Geographic cartographers finally recognized the Southern Ocean of Antarctica on their maps, bringing their number of terrestrial oceans to five.
Each parcel of water, classified as an upper route, subpolar cell, and abyssal cell, takes different times to travel the world. The upper channel (about a third of the Atlantic) takes 300 years, the subpolar cell (about 20%) 700 years, and the abyssal (about half) 2,800 years
These graphs show the average time it takes for each parcel of water to travel around the world
The company – which has published maps of the world since 1915 – publicly announced its new policy to coincide with World Oceans Day.
National Geographic has defined the ocean as being bound by the current that flows around Antarctica – with a northernmost reach up to the 60th parallel south.
Meanwhile, earlier this year scientists provided precise measurements for the deepest points in each of the world’s five major oceans following one of the most adventurous ocean expeditions of all time.
Data from the Five Deeps Expedition (FDE), which conducted 10-month dives from 2018 to 2019, confirmed the locations of the deepest points in the Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean for the first time.
Flow: This image shows water parcels traveling from the Atlantic to the Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans along their different trajectories
The routes have been calculated and simulated using a computer model to show the different flows
The deepest point in the Indian Ocean is 7,187 meters in the Java Trench just off the coast of Indonesia, the data reveals, while the deepest point in the Southern Ocean is of 7,432 meters, in the pit of the southern sandwich.
Before FDE, the deepest parts of some oceans were relatively well known, such as the lowest point on Earth – the Challenger Deep, inside the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.
At 10,924 meters (6.8 miles), the Challenger Deep still holds the record for the deepest point on Earth, Expeditions have confirmed.
While the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean is called Brownson Deep in the Puerto Rico Trench which drops to 8,378 meters.
The study on water travel of the world’s oceans is published in Science Advances.
THE ATLANTIC OCEANIC CIRCULATION PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN REGULATING THE GLOBAL CLIMATE
When it comes to regulating the global climate, the circulation of the Atlantic Ocean plays a key role.
This is due to a constantly moving deep-sea circulation system, often called the global ocean conveyor belt, which sends warm, salty water from the Gulf Stream into the North Atlantic where it releases heat into the atmosphere. and warms Western Europe.
The colder water then sinks to great depths and travels to Antarctica and eventually rises in the Gulf Stream.
In regulating the global climate, the circulation of the Atlantic Ocean plays a key role
This movement is powered by thermohaline currents – a combination of temperature and salt.
It takes thousands of years for water to complete a continuous journey around the world.
Researchers believe that when the North Atlantic began to warm towards the end of the Little Ice Age, fresh water disrupted the system, called the Atlantic Meridian Overturning Circulation (AMOC).
The Arctic sea ice, ice caps and glaciers surrounding the Arctic began to melt, forming a huge natural tap of fresh water that gushed out into the North Atlantic.
This huge influx of fresh water diluted the surface seawater, making it lighter and less able to sink deep, slowing down the AMOC system.
The researchers found that the AMOC has weakened faster since 1950 in response to recent global warming.