Australian scientists to investigate climate change impact on Antarctic current

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CANBERRA, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Australian scientists will depart within days on a voyage to study the impact of climate change on the planet's strongest current, the national science agency said on Monday.

A team of scientists will spend over a month onboard its research vessel Investigator studying how the Antarctic Circumpolar Current contributes to melting ice shelves, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) said.

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current flows clockwise around the continent from west to east and is the strongest ocean current on the planet.

Benoit Legresy, the voyage chief scientist from the CSIRO, said in a statement that the current has historically prevented warm water from reaching Antarctica and melting ice but that heat has been approaching the pole.

"The Antarctic Circumpolar Current generates the whirling eddies and finer scale dynamics that we're trying to understand, and which are the prime suspect for warm water seeping towards the pole," he said.

"There are five 'eddy heat flux gates', or hot spots, identified around the Antarctic Circle and they're acting as a gateway for the heat to go south. We're going to track down those small features that we think explain the heat seeping into polar waters."

CSIRO researchers will be joined on the research vessel Investigator by colleagues from the government-funded Australian Antarctic Program Partnership.

In addition to investigating hot spots, the voyage will also verify for the first time imagery of the Southern Ocean taken by the Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite, which was launched by NASA in collaboration with France's Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales in December 2022. Enditem

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