Recent findings, with important implications for ocean biogeochemistry and climate science, have been published by Nature Communications in a paper by Associate Professor Mark Holzer from UNSW Science's School of Mathematics & Statistics, with co-authors Tim DeVries (UCSB) and Casimir de Lavergne (LOCEAN).
"The deep North Pacific is a vast reservoir of remineralized nutrients and respired carbon that have accumulated over centuries," says Holzer. "When these deep waters are returned to the surface, their nutrients support biological production and their dissolved CO2 can be released into the atmosphere. As such, the deep Pacific plays a key role in the earth's climate system."
But what are the pathways of the ocean circulation that supply newly ventilated surface water to the deep Pacific? And how and where does this old water eventually return to the surface? To date, there were two competing theories for the role that the overturning circulation plays in this.