A team of researchers made a surprising discovery after they observed that freshwater released by melting glaciers could alter the flow of ocean water currents. Several researchers have highlighted the fact that a seawater current known under the name of Beaufort Gyre plays an essential role in the balance of the polar biome by pushing freshwater near the surface of the Arctic ocean.
The wind will push the gyre in a clockwise direction in the area of the western Arctic ocean, where it tends to accumulate freshwater from melting glaciers and runoffs. Freshwater is quite essential for the Arctic region since it can float above the salty water, which is a bit warmer, and prevent the melting of more ice.
As the decades pass, freshwater will find its way into the Atlantic Ocean, and small amounts will travel to other areas. In the last three decades, a large amount f fresh water was stored by the gyre. It is estimated that the amount is double the size of the Lake Michigan or up to 8,000 cubic kilometers.
Oceanic Currents Accelerate Due To Arctic Ice Melt
In recent years the Arctic ice has melted at an accelerated rate, and the Beaufort Gyre has been exposed to stronger winds, which boost the amount of freshwater collected by the gyre. The same winds have also guided the current along a single direction in the last two decades, preventing freshwater from escaping.
It is theorized that if the Beaufort Gyre releases most of its water into the Atlantic Ocean, its circulation may slow down. This would lead to climate change on a hemisphere-wide scale with the brunt being felt in Western Europe.
The water from the Artic also contributes to the regulation of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which contributes to a stable climate at a global level. A study was published in a scientific journal.