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Climate change could reverse Atlantic flow

Barcelona -- Global warming could reverse the flow of deep waters in the Atlantic Ocean, just as climate change did 20,000 years ago, Spanish researchers say.

Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona scientists say such a reversal is expected in the course of climate warming over the next 100 years, ScienceDaily.com reported Thursday.

Atlantic Ocean circulation is an important part of the climate system as warm currents like the Gulf Stream transport energy from the tropics to the subpolar North Atlantic and influence regional weather and climate patterns, the researchers say.

Their study shows ocean circulation was very different in the past, including a period 20,000 years ago when the Atlantic flows reversed, moving towards the South Polar Ocean.

Although far back in time, the phenomenon is relevant for our climate today and in the near future, researchers say, and their data can benefit the climate-modeling community by improving their capacity to reliably predict future ocean and climate changes.

Copyright 2010 United Press International

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