Category Archives: Scientific American

Seismic “Noise”–Oil Prospecting Data Could Decipher Ocean Mixing

Three decades ago researchers discovered what are essentially enormous saltwater lakes in the Atlantic Ocean. These “lakes,” called meddies, are gently spinning lenses of water up to 100 kilometers across and one kilometer thick. They float a few hundred meters below the surface of the ocean. Such large, warm bodies, which turned out to come from the Mediterranean Sea, should have an impact on heat exchange in the ocean—and on the planet’s climate. But efforts to study meddies—conventionally by dropping probes that directly measure the ocean’s temperature, salinity and velocity—have proved too costly, infrequent and spread out to reveal how the meddies dissipate their heat. Continue reading