New study by Alan Condron of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and Jenna C. Hill, a member of the US Geological Survey, reveals that about 31,000 years ago, icebergs flowed along 5,000 kilometers of the east coast of the United States to Florida.
High resolution images of the seabed indicate the presence of more 700 traces icebergs from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to the Florida Keys for depths between 170 and 380 meters. Numerical simulations of the movement of glacial layers indicate that their transfer to these sites occurred over short periods of time, due to the high flow of meltwater. “These floods create a cold coastal stream, flowing rapidly towards the south which carries the icebergs to Florida ”, commented Condron in a statement released this week.
This finding has direct implications for understanding the interactions between the cryosphere, ocean, and climate, as it suggests that a narrow, floating coastal current must have flowed from the northern hemisphere ice caps directly into the vortex. subtropical of the North Atlantic, and that south of Cape Hatteras this current was moving in the opposite direction of the Gulf Stream, flowing north.
Research over the past 30 years has repeatedly shown that increased freshwater flow due to massive discharges of meltwater into the Atlantic could weaken the southern circulation of overturning.
In turn, the the movement of the flow is essential to control the amount of heat that the ocean transports north to Europe. If areas off the Atlantic coast of the United States receive large amounts of fresh water, the amount of heat carried northward by the ocean could change dramatically, increasing the chances that temperatures in Europe will cool significantly. .
The study was published in the journal Nature.
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