According to Michael Steele, senior oceanographer at the University of Washington, Seattle, melting ice caps can greatly alter ocean processes, which in turn may have an effect on Arctic and global climate. “The Arctic Ocean during winter is usually very cold and produces lots of sea ice, which creates cold, salty water that sinks to deep levels and drives ocean circulation. But if surface waters warm and ice does not form as well in winter, these processes involving salinity and circulation could be reduced or eliminated. ‘Then the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean will look very different,’ Steele says.”
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