The report, published in Nature, by Richard Bintanja, a climate researcher at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute in Utrecht and his colleagues show that enhanced melting of the Antarctic ice sheet — which is losing mass at a rate of 250 gigatonnes yearly — has probably been the main factor behind the small but statistically significant sea-ice expansion in the region.
The most commonly understood part of the Great Ocean Conveyor is where the Gulf Stream becomes heavy with salt, as the fresh water freezes out, and the salt laden water sinks into the Ocean. In doing so it is the pump that drives the system. Al Gore in his film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ pointed to Greenland as a source of fresh water which could stall the complete system.
Could a similar event happen in the Southern Ocean if the ice shelf starts melting from underneath due to the warmer currents, and the fresh water flows over the salty sea water and freezes instead of the sea water?
This would prevent the salty sea water from freezing and it would not sink to help drive the system.