Water travels through the world’s oceans along great loops driven by massive and often deep currents in a process known as the global thermohaline circulation. A recent study into how the Pacific Ocean leaks into the Indian Ocean has revealed details which researchers say could improve climate predictions. The study says that the Tasman leakage in the south of Australia is the second-largest link between the Pacific and Indian oceans after the Indonesian through-flow to the country’s north. Scientists further say that acting over millennial time scales, the global thermohaline circulation can exert significant influence on global climate variability. Because the Tasman leakage acts as a bottleneck in the Pacific-to-Indian flow, changes in this pathway can have significant impact on the global thermohaline circulation. Then, the Tasman leakage could also have a direct effect on both the regional Australian climate and the availability of nutrients in the waters of Great Australian Bight, which in turn could affect marine ecosystems in these areas. Better understanding of this bottleneck in the global ocean has the potential to improve the accuracy of climate predictions.
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