Heat Release From Stagnant Deep Sea Helped End Last Ice Age

The Future Leadership Institute

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The build-up and subsequent release of warm, stagnant water from the deep Arctic Ocean and Nordic Seas played a role in ending the last Ice Age within the Arctic region, according to new research led by a UCL scientist.

The study, published last week in Science, examined how the circulation of the ocean north of Iceland – the combined Arctic Ocean and Nordic Seas, called the Arctic Mediterranean – changed since the end of the last Ice Age (~20,000-30,000 years ago).

Today, the ocean is cooled by the atmosphere during winter, producing large volumes of dense water that sink and flush through the deep Arctic Mediterranean. However, in contrast to the vigorous circulation of today, the research found that during the last Ice Age, the deep Arctic Mediterranean became like a giant stagnant pond, with deep waters not being replenished for up to 10,000 years.

This is thought to…

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