Link to page 1 of this section Link to page 2 of this section Link to page 3 of this section Link to page 4 of this section
next pages:


The deep circulation of the ocean has important influences on Earth's heat budget and climate. The deep circulation varies over periods from decades to centuries to perhaps a thousand years, and this variabililty is thought to modulate (change) climate over such time intervals. The ocean may be the primary cause of variability over times ranging from years to decades, and it may have helped modulate ice-age climate.

Two aspects of the deep circulation are especially important for understanding Earth's climate and its possible response to increased CO2 , an important greenhouse gas.

Understanding causes and consequences (what happens) of variations in climate throughout history is important. Knowledge of this may provide an understanding of the effects and conseqeunces of extremely rapid (geologically speaking) global warming that many scientists believe has been brought on by human interaction with the atmosphere. The greenhouse effect is a much studied, discussed, and debated topic.

rock division line

Questions that come to mind are:

1. What causes an ice age?

2. What effect, if any, do periods of glaciation (ice age) have on sea level?

3. Has Earth experienced its last glaciation (ice age)?

4. How is snow transformed into glacial ice?

5. How do scientists study paleoclimates?

To find out the answers to these and other questions you may have, check out our "Helpful Links"!

Printer Friendly Page

Any questions?
E-mail Us!
All Site materials copyright.
Ocean World (c)2004

Topex/Poseidon Logo

This site is developed and maintained by the Jason Education Project at
Texas A&M University
through a contract from the
Jason Project
at the
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Ocean World Privacy Statement