The Thermohaline Circulation

The thermohaline circulation (thermo=heat; haline=salt) of the ocean is extremely important in maintaining the Earth’s heat balance. Warm water (such as the Gulf Stream off the east coast of the U.S.) moves to the earth’s poles, where it cools. Cold salty water at the poles sinks and moves along the ocean bottom, resurfacing in places like the coast of Peru. There, it brings nutrient-rich waters back to the surface, supporting an abundant fishery.

This mini quilt shows the path of the thermohaline circulation, with sparkly red thread representing the warm water, and sparkly blue thread representing the cold water.

The Thermohaline Circulation by Sylvia Schaefer