As they grow more dense, these water masses sink to the seafloor, flow northwards and become part of the global circulation of ocean water.During the last three decades, the AABW filling the bulk of the global ocean abyss has warmed and contracted in volume, particularly in the Atlantic Ocean.Pictures from the 2015 cruise are available on co-investigator Dr Eleanor Frajka-Williams’ website.During the 2017 cruise we will also deploy an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that will move back and forth in an AABW along the Orkney Passage while measuring the intensity of the turbulence.
Our hypothesis asserts that those winds regulate the volume and temperature of the AABW exported northward via the Orkney Passage (a major AABW exit route from the Weddell Sea) by altering the intensity of the turbulent mixing between AABW and overlying warmer waters in the passage.
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The western route through the islands of Canada is accordingly called Northwest Passage (NWP).
However, Russian settlers and traders on the coast of the White Sea, the Pomors, had been exploring parts of the route as early as the 11th century.