Professional Paper 1386–A
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Figure 31. The great ocean conveyor belt of global ocean currents as described in Broecker (1991). Winds drive warm salty ocean currents in the global pattern of atmospheric circulation. Note that the flow of warm currents is relatively unimpeded in the Pacific Ocean. In the Atlantic Ocean, however, México and Central America block the westward flow, forcing the current northward (Gulf Stream). The cold currents in the polar regions are denser than warm equatorial waters, and therefore they sink, forming cold deep water. Atlantic deep water forms near Greenland, travels to Antarctica, adds cold salty water from Antarctica, and then continues into the Pacific Ocean. Modified from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (1996, p. 271, fig. 2); after Broecker (1991)."