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- The calculation of variations in the sea level is relatively simple. It is by far more complicated to then determine the change in the water mass. A team of geodesists and oceanographers from the University of Bonn, as well as from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences and the Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Sciences, two centres of the Helmholtz Association, have now, for the first time succeeded in doing this. The researchers were able to observe short-term fluctuations in the spatial distribution of the ocean water masses.
we were able to prove, for the first time, that in particular in the higher latitudes, significant fluctuations of the water mass occur, and that this takes place within a time period of only one to two weeks". So far one only knew that the mass of the world-wide ocean water varies seasonally by on average approximately three quadrillion kilogrammes (a quadrillion equals to 1 followed by 15 zeroes) -- that implies a sea level variation of approx. seven to eight millimetres. This effect is brought about, among others, by variations in precipitation and evaporation as well as by the storage of water as snow. But, also, the melting of the glaciers and the ice masses in Greenland and in the Antarctic play a role.
- The movement of water in the ocean is determined by many factors including tides; winds; surface waves; internal waves, those that propagate within the layers of the ocean; and differences in temperature, salinity or sea level height. Additionally, like high and low pressure systems seen on TV weather maps, the ocean is full of eddies, slowly swirling masses of water... In the future, Qiu and colleagues hope to develop a mathematical approach to creating more detailed pictures of circulation based on sea level in more locations throughout the Pacific.
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- Модель рельефа Земли
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