Exploring the Saltiness of the Ocean to Study Climate Change

Stones cut flat for evaporating seawater to extract salt, Yangpu Ancient Salt Field. Yangpu Field is an archeological heritage site in Yantian village, on Yangpu Peninsula, Hainan, China. The area, established around 800 AD, comprises more than 1,000 stones, cut flat on top, used to evaporate seawater to produce salt. The stones have a thin rim around the edge to contain the water. During high tide, the surface of the stones fill with water. During low tide, the seawater evaporates, leaving the salt, which is then collected. Caption and Photo source: ©© Wikipedia


Details are emerging from a recent research expedition to the Sub-Tropical North Atlantic. The objective of the expedition was to study the salt concentration (salinity) of the upper ocean. Scientists aboard the Spanish research vessel Sarmiento de Gamboa, including National University of Ireland Galway’s Dr Brian Ward with two of his PhD students, Graig Sutherland and Anneke ten Doeschate, explored the essential role of the ocean in the global water cycle.

This oceanographic research campaign is aimed at understanding the salinity of the upper ocean, which is a much more reliable indicator of the water cycle than any land-based measurement. How the water cycle evolves in response to global warming is one of the most important climate change issues…

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