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Oceans are a tremendous reservoir of heat. The upper 10 feet of ocean water holds more heat than the earth's entire atmosphere. Due to the formation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, enabled by plate tectonics, Antarctica became thermally isolated from the rest of the earth initiating 1) a permanent ice cap, 2) extensive sea ice that extruded cold brine that filled the ocean's bottom water, and 3) Intensified upwelling that increased productivity that drew down atmospheric CO2 to current levels. As a result of increasing cold Antarctic Bottom Water, oceans ventilated its its displaced ancient bottom water heat. As a result of a 50 million year cooling trend, the earth is now locked into a fluctuating balance between cold ice ages and warm interglacials
Transcript of Presentation below:
The coldest month only dropped down to just above freezing. Yet today we look at Ellesmere Island, which is adjacent to Greenland, and the average temperature there is about 2.3 degrees C. So we've had a tremendous cooling trend since then. And along with that cooling trend was the development of polar glacial ice caps.