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GEO-3: GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT OUTLOOK  
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The global ocean circulation

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When warm, salty North Atlantic water reaches the cold Arctic, it becomes denser as it cools, and therefore sinks to deeper layers of the ocean. This process of forming deep water is slow but takes place over a huge area. Every winter, several million cubic kilometres of water sink to deeper layers, which move water slowly south along the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean

Source: AMAP 1997

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