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Super Pathway Discovered In Southern Ocean

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the been-there-right-along dept.

Science 167

WaltonNews writes in to let us know that a major underwater current called the Tasman Outflow has been discovered by Australian scientists. It helps to regulate the Earth's climate by providing water flow between three oceans in the southern hemisphere. Relatedly, a senior climate scientist has called for the establishment of a Southern Hemisphere network of deep ocean moorings, to complement the network already established in the North Atlantic. The intent is to detect any change in ocean circulation that may adversely influence global climate.

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Dude! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20266473)

More radical than the EAC!

The Sea Turles ride this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20266653)

in Find Nemo, LOL!

Re:The Sea Turles ride this (1)

yourmomisfasterthana (1097719) | about 7 years ago | (#20266947)

ur mom? (yea yea... trollin' whatever :P)

You must be a Blue Tang (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20267493)

with an attention deficit disorder. Definitely not from the Clan Wu!

limited knowledge (0)

Bartas (929484) | about 7 years ago | (#20266479)

we know so little about our planet

Re:limited knowledge - amen (1)

mollog (841386) | about 7 years ago | (#20266675)

And here's another question; before the continents drifted apart, what was the climate like? Volatile? Constant?

So much of what we think we know is wrong. It's amazing to see the new discoveries.

But we *know* man causes global warming, right? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20266893)

We didn't even know about this massive flow of water, and yet those computer models we use to predict global warming in the future are accurate?

Re:But we *know* man causes global warming, right? (2, Interesting)

CorSci81 (1007499) | about 7 years ago | (#20267877)

We knew deep ocean currents existed, the article really just points out that we have firmer evidence of there being a common flow between all of the southern oceans. The existence of the deep Atlantic currents we knew about was pretty good evidence this one likely existed, we just hadn't found it.

As far as climate goes, the deep return currents (much like this one) are very slow. Much slower than say the Gulf Stream in the north Atlantic. The time scale for these large flows to change is in the hundreds to thousands of years, and have very little bearing on current global warming. The article summary (and you) is really just stirring up needless controversy because if you mention anything to do with climate someone has to bring up global warming. For all practical purposes you could treat the deep currents as constant sources/sinks at the few places they interact with the surface and your climate model would work just as well. From what I recall most of them do just that for short-term (a few decades) timescales.

I call bullshit! (5, Funny)

stratjakt (596332) | about 7 years ago | (#20266497)

Al Gore already figured ALL OF THIS OUT.

There are no natural processes which affect climate. We all know what affects climate, is our use of incandescent light bulbs!

If only we'd all switch to mercury filled compact flouros, we'd reduce this nations energy consumption by almost 0.005%! Not only that, we'd increase the amount of mercury in our groundwater by over 200%! Mercury is good for you and helps build strong bones and teeth.

Also, we should junk our existing cars and build and purchase new ones which are marginally more efficient.

WHEN WILL WE LEARN?! THE ONLY SOLUTION TO CLIMATE PROBLEMS IS TO SPEND SPEND SPEND SPEND ON COMPANIES AL GORE HAS STOCK IN.

Re:I call bullshit! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20266673)

You strike me as the sort of person who has no friends.

Re:I call bullshit! (4, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 7 years ago | (#20266857)

I want to be that guy's friend now.

seems like you're better off keeping a moderately efficient car for as long as you can (maybe 10 years?) instead of dumping it before its time is up to get a hybrid. not just environmentally but financially. not having to make $300/mo payments seems like you could afford a little extra gasoline.

CFL are great, but without a wide spread recycling program it is just going to cause poison to be released into the environment. Causing severe problems to sensitive species, including ourselves. If Al Gore is so smart why did he not propose a federal mandatory disposal/recycling program for CFLs and hybrid's lead batteries?

Re:I call bullshit! (2, Insightful)

More Trouble (211162) | about 7 years ago | (#20267895)

seems like you're better off keeping a moderately efficient car for as long as you can (maybe 10 years?) instead of dumping it before its time is up to get a hybrid. not just environmentally but financially. not having to make $300/mo payments seems like you could afford a little extra gasoline.
If all you're concerned about is your personal welfare, then I'd have to say ... it depends. Only an idiot would "dump" a working automobile. Clearly, you'd sell it, thus recouping some fraction of its value. And then you'd pay cash for the hybrid, you're unlikely to get a new car loan on a hybrid for less than 7%. I find that the best way to decide is to calculate the cost (to you) per mile. Depending on what you're driving today, how far you're driving, how fast you're driving, etc., a hybrid may or may not be a cost improvement. Ignoring fancy calculations like "carbon footprint". If you're interested in that sort of thing, I'd suggest becoming a vegetarian [simons-rock.edu] -- at least as effective and better for you. Also, buying food (and other stuff) that wasn't shipped thousands of miles helps.

Re:I call bullshit! (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 7 years ago | (#20268531)

I see. that makes sense. your moderately efficient car can be pushed on to someone else who might not be able to afford a new car. those people tend to have very inefficient "beaters". and they can dump the beater and use your old car in its place. okay I can deal with that. Although the accounting still works out that selling my car means either one of two outcomes:

1. someone who didn't have a car before, has a car now. which means we have a hybrid + the old car on the road spewing out pollution, carbon, etc.
2. someone dumps an inefficient car and it gets melted down to make a new (hopefully efficient) car.

ps - I'm not sure if everyone becoming vegetarian would have a real impact on carbon footprint. not like you have to pump carbon out of the ground to feed your cows.

Re:I call bullshit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20268793)

Maybe not, but buying local instead of prepackaged foods from big chain stores can make a huge impact. Whether or not you buy meat is not really the issue. Go to your local farmers market, assuming there is one. Even if you have to drive a little more around town to get what you need, this is far better than the food that is trucked or otherwise shipped from places like Chile. I know not everything can be had this way but if everyone would start then maybe a trend would kick off and we could make a difference.

Re:I call bullshit! (2, Insightful)

budgenator (254554) | about 7 years ago | (#20268363)

I'm a global warming skeptic, and I work in the dental industry, you know mercury based amalgam filings, and I'm going to tell you I'd rather have a few mg of Hg in the land fill than the amount of mercury and thorium going up the power-plant stack that the bulb would prevent.

Re:I call bullshit! (2, Interesting)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 7 years ago | (#20268563)

I'd rather not burn coal and release mercury and radioactive particles into the environment, and use CFLs (and dispose of them properly) so we can use hydro, solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear power more effectively.

I want to have my cake and eat it too.

Re:I call bullshit! (0, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#20269031)

"I'm a global warming skeptic, "

really? what logical fallacy's are the climatologist using?
Have you read any papers? if not, please feel free to replace "I'm a global warming skeptic, "
with "I'm an ignorant blow hard,"

Global warming is happening at an increased rate that is only explainable by human activity.

NOTHING else to date explains it. Nothing.

Remember everything you hear in the news is skewed towards the small side of an argument. Even though some topic might have 99% of the consensus, when conducting a 'news story' they give equal time to both sides. This makes people believe that both sides are "equal" when they are not.

Some things wrong. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#20268635)

Even if ALL of the mercury from CFL are released, it is far less mercury in the env, than what would be released via the extra energy released. So even here, it is better to go with them. Now, with that said, I am pissed that HomeDepot, lowes, and Walmart do not have a recycle program. I have already gone through 2 bulbs. As to the lead batteries in hybrid, you are kidding, right? nearly all hybrids currently use NiMH. And there are recycle programs available at anyplace that you buy a new car battery at.

As to buying hybrids, yeah, I have a saturn ion with 95K miles and will run it into the ground. After that, I will probably pick up a new hybrid, (or even better, try to get a tesla sedan). But would I sell it and pick up a 300 / month? Not on your life.

That is also the reason why I wish that politicians had balls. What is needed is a time based graduated tax on consumable fuel (i.e. natural gas, gasoline, diesel, etc). Ppl need to change their driving habits over a period of time. WHen they get hit with large jumps, it does kill the economy.

Re:Some things wrong. (1)

onemorechip (816444) | about 7 years ago | (#20269189)

In addition to the NiMH, the Prius has a small 12-volt storage battery (lead-acid). Like conventional cars, this is used to power accessories. However, it does not have to turn over a starter motor, so it is much smaller.

Re:I call bullshit! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20266753)

I actually laughed out loud reading that. Especially the mercury bit. What's almost as funny is that you will now be modded down for making a joke at Global Warming's expense. That's right, Global Warming is capitalized...that's what you do with religion, right?

Mod me down baby, waste away those mod points...

mod styles (2, Insightful)

zahl2 (821572) | about 7 years ago | (#20268017)

I boggle as to how they were modded up as "interesting" and not "funny".

If it were me, I'd be torn between modding down as "troll" and up as "funny". But then I have a sick sense of humor.

Re:I call bullshit! (1)

alexj33 (968322) | about 7 years ago | (#20268781)

Great. Now when that current thingy goes up one degree in the summer, the Global Warming(tm) proponents are going to howl fire n' brimstone, when it's probably just the summer heat.

Mod me down baby, waste away those mod points

I see you also have realized that not going with the status quo here at /. gets you modded down. I believe one can only hope to be a /. moderator if he/she:

1. Keeps their mouth shut about Global Warming(tm) or post supportive comments.
2. Makes only nice posts about the Democratic Party(tm). (capitalized for the same reasons you mention above)
3. Throws in a few swipes at Bush or Republicans for good measure.

I once had mod points, but then began to speak my mind on Global Warming(tm). Watched those points grow little wings and fly away.

Does a polar bear pee in the woods (1)

huckamania (533052) | about 7 years ago | (#20266755)

Apparently they do now.

You don't get it. (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | about 7 years ago | (#20267069)

Global climate change can affect ocean currents, which in turn affect global climate change. Your strident ranting adds nothing to the debate except anger and misunderstanding. What is your motivation?

And we start another global climate change thread. (0, Troll)

slashname3 (739398) | about 7 years ago | (#20266503)

And it starts yet again! Another thread debating global climate change!

Adapt or die! That is the solution!

Profit by investing in the A/C and flood control industries!

Re:And we start another global climate change thre (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20266655)

Why invest in anonymous cowards?

Re:And we start another global climate change thre (1)

slashname3 (739398) | about 7 years ago | (#20267487)

Why invest in anonymous cowards?

This was rated insightful?? Why?

Re:And we start another global climate change thre (1)

Moderatbastard (808662) | about 7 years ago | (#20267753)

See my sig for explanation.

IT'S SETTLED SCIENCE (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20266523)

Obviously anyone talking about any so-called "ocean currents" affecting the Earth's climate is in the pocket of Chimpy McBushitler and his cronies in Big Oil. We all know that only SUVs, incandescent light bulbs, and not listening to Al Gore cause changes in climate.

Holy shit, it's hot out today! WE'RE DOOMED!!!!

Re:IT'S SETTLED SCIENCE (1)

Maniac-X (825402) | about 7 years ago | (#20266593)

There must be a break in the earth's water cooling loop. Maybe it needs a new bigger pump, and some UV reactive dye.

Re:IT'S SETTLED SCIENCE (1)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | about 7 years ago | (#20268473)

I agree, let's jumpstart the condenser part of the loop in this ocean current and drop in about 50 of the biggest pumps. Then we can reverse the global warming and pollute as much as we want...

Re:IT'S SETTLED SCIENCE (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20267919)

On the contrary, you are quite in the wrong on this issue.

It is obvious to any right-thinking man that pollution of the Earth cannot possibly affect mankind. First of all, the Earth is too big. Have you ever looked at a globe? The earth is many times bigger than even the biggest globe you have ever seen.

Second of all, if lefty "reality preachers" are so sure about evolution, then what is the big deal? Mankind will evolve special mercury-digestion organs and smog filters in the throat.

Third of all, whatever happens to the Earth is God's Will. Are you really so arrogant that you think you can change the Earth that God made? No, the Earth will never change unless God makes it change to punish us for our sins against wealthy industrialists.

Re:IT'S SETTLED SCIENCE (1)

pchoppin (864344) | about 7 years ago | (#20268001)

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

My God, when will people understand...

Re:IT'S SETTLED SCIENCE (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | about 7 years ago | (#20268513)

The breathable atmosphere of the Earth is only 6.5 miles deep.  When you drive 10 miles, you have driven further than that.

Think about it.  And then think about how hard it really would be for us to affect the atmosphere in a big way.

Re:IT'S SETTLED SCIENCE (2, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 7 years ago | (#20268899)

Obviously anyone talking about any so-called "ocean currents" affecting the Earth's climate is in the pocket of Chimpy McBushitler and his cronies in Big Oil. We all know that only SUVs, incandescent light bulbs, and not listening to Al Gore cause changes in climate.


You know, lots of people are posting variations on this as if it were some kind of clever skewering of the Al Gore and others advocating policy change to address global warming, but all it really does is demonstrate that the people posting this and variations on it aren't paying attention; Al Gore and others taking similar positions point to climate engines like this (though not this particular one in the past, since it wasn't known, but the North Atlantic Current has always been pointed to) as areas of sensitivity because human-produced effects can change the conditions which make these systems operate the way they do, thus causing them to change how they operate, thus producing greater climate change than the human actions do more directly.

The whole idea that there is some kind of binary dichotomy between human activity and natural processes influencing the environment, and that anyone pointing to the former is stating that the latter is not a factor is just bizarre. Its sort of like arguing, of a typical interactive software program, that the output must be produced by either the input or the executable code, but not the two working together.

Re:IT'S SETTLED SCIENCE (2, Insightful)

tdent1138 (832732) | about 7 years ago | (#20269257)

"Al Gore and others taking similar positions point to climate engines like this (though not this particular one in the past, since it wasn't known, but the North Atlantic Current has always been pointed to) as areas of sensitivity because human-produced effects can change the conditions which make these systems operate the way they do, thus causing them to change how they operate, thus producing greater climate change than the human actions do more directly."
Be that as it may, it seems to me that we keep discovering parts of the 'system' we never even knew existed. I cannot understand how we are supposed to take seriously those who advocate destroying our (US) economy (ie Kyoto) when no one can begin to model the climate with any accuracy at all. 1998 was the hottest year? Oops! Not really. The average temperature has gone up? Hmmm... Since when? The last mini ice-age? Imagine that. Where exactly are all those temperature sensors and have they never been moved since pre-1900? Certainly there are 'heat islands' created by cities. Is that all factored in? And of course, even if we take those temperatures at face value, those are just the temps on land where we have sensors. What happened to the temperature where we don't have senors like over the oceans (the other 75% of our planet)? Did it go up there too? We don't know how this "brand new" current effects another current over there or how the sun effects the cloud cover or precipitation or or or... As far as I can tell, these "global warming" scientist guys think they know it all and that is the surest sign they know nothing.

Tasmanian Outflow vs. North Atlantic Current (1)

andphi (899406) | about 7 years ago | (#20266563)

So does this deprecate the "The Day After Tomorrow"?

Re:Tasmanian Outflow vs. North Atlantic Current (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 7 years ago | (#20266847)

So does this deprecate the "The Day After Tomorrow"?
Too late. That film did a pretty thorough job of deprecating itself.

Re:Tasmanian Outflow vs. North Atlantic Current (1)

Spudtrooper (1073512) | about 7 years ago | (#20267019)

Why oh why don't we have a "criticaldesalinizationpoint" tag when we need it?

Sequel time (2, Funny)

ghoul (157158) | about 7 years ago | (#20267053)

Hey now we can have the Day after Tomorrow 2 or as I like to call it 2 days after tomorrow. This time the problem starts in the south and we can have nice special effects of a kangaroo freezing to death. Hell we could throw in some junk science to explain why Australian animals are so different (something to do with a previous freeze) The big thing is we could use all the Australian actors - Mel Gibson Tom Cruise Nicole Kidman as the main characters and ask them to their native Australian accent for a change.

Re:Sequel time (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20267207)

how about 2 dayz After 2 morrow, for that real Hollywood feel.

Bad bad reporting (5, Insightful)

Yath (6378) | about 7 years ago | (#20266573)

None of the quotes in the article support the reporter's opinion that the intent is to detect adverse effects. It's almost like the reporter is trying to stir things up... troll, if you will, by making it look like the scientists are out to confirm some already-held conclusions that the climate is getting worse.

Where did you come up with this? (1)

mollog (841386) | about 7 years ago | (#20266779)

I must have read a different article. All I saw was an article that describes scientific research that confirmed some theories.

Re:Where did you come up with this? (1)

Otter (3800) | about 7 years ago | (#20266959)

You did read a different article. He's referring to the second link.

Anyway, I don't really see what the OP's objection is. Literally he's right, but presumably they're not advocating putting in all these sensors so that we can find out about fantastic new developments that much sooner.

Meanwhile, the warming skeptics sure seem to have lots of money to spend on AdWords! I wonder if the proprietors of CoyoteBlog and the Heartland Institute are spending their own money or someone else's...?

Re:Bad bad reporting (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 7 years ago | (#20266895)

That's how you get people to read articles. Honest unbiased journalist are probably cashing in unemployment checks more often than not. (because their dishonest editors won't print their articles)

That is pretty normal (4, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#20266993)

Nearly all of the major news reporters are simply trying to make big headlines (save for several which have their own agenda's). All will spin in to suite their purpose. A good example was back in the 70's, a scientist say that climate change WAS happening and suggested that it COULD lead to global cooling. From that, a number of the articles came out that pushed that. So, quite paying attention there.

Pay attention to what the real scientist are saying directly. Get past what fox news and oil companies have to say. Listen to the top ones (such as Dr. Hansen who is one of thousands ) and even ones like Dr Grey ( from Colo State, who is one of the very few accredited skeptics). It is a good thing to pay attention to both sides, just skip the garbage.

Bad Marketing (1)

yintercept (517362) | about 7 years ago | (#20267255)

The reporting in the two articles looks pretty good. For that matter it even looks like the science behind the reports is pretty good.

Reading the press releases at CSIRO [csiro.au] , it looks like the marketers for the organization are trying to establishes a connection to global warming politics (probably in an effort to get funding). The article I linked to says:

"research that will help them explain more accurately how the ocean governs global climate."

I am going to walk out on a limb here and reject the premise that purpose of the supergyre is to govern global climate. I will actually venture the statement that the supergyre really doesn't have a purpose in life, it is just the result of natural forces such as the spinning of the earth and the absorbing the energy of the sun, etc..

Re:Bad bad reporting (1)

yakmans_dad (1144003) | about 7 years ago | (#20268507)

A lot of the replies here remind me of the swarm responses to the FCC that [deleted]-wing groups drum up. There's an autonomic quality to it like Poe's Raven croaking "nevermore".

They just had to drop the GC bomb. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20266581)

Yet another attempt to ride the bandwagon to get funding.

Adverse changes? (0, Troll)

amightywind (691887) | about 7 years ago | (#20266801)

The intent is to detect any change in ocean circulation that may adversely influence global climate.

How would they discriminate between adverse and beneficial changes? Given that they are climate scientists, my guess is any change they find will be labeled adverse. And if the data show nothing they will be doctored until they do. Can you all see the symbiosis between the funding-greedy scientists who sow hysteria and big government liberal politicians who manufacture a climate crisis in order to raise taxes? Hey guys, it is mid-August in what was supposed to be a record hurricane season. No storms yet.

Re:Adverse changes? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20266957)

Hey guys, it is mid-August in what was supposed to be a record hurricane season. No storms yet.

Huh? Concerning the Atlantic season, there's been five named storms so far, one reaching hurricane status (Dean, currently category 3, expected to increase as it moves into the Gulf).

And who said anything about a "record season?" The NHC is expecting an above normal one [noaa.gov] , but nobody said anything about "record."

Re:Adverse changes? (5, Informative)

Elemenope (905108) | about 7 years ago | (#20267013)

Hey guys, it is mid-August in what was supposed to be a record hurricane season. No storms yet.

Apparently you do not live in Texas, where Hurricane Dean (the fourth named storm of the season) is about to hit. But hey, don't let facts get in the way of a good story.

Re:Adverse changes? (-1, Troll)

amightywind (691887) | about 7 years ago | (#20267279)

OMG! They're right! Let me get my checkbook. Jackass. I hope you're flooded out.

Re:Adverse changes? (1)

Stanistani (808333) | about 7 years ago | (#20267507)

*stares*

*marks amightywind as foe*

Foes don't even show up when I read comments or replies. I don't need input from the likes of you. You hope someone gets flooded out because he contradicts you?

I wish you a long and enjoyable life. I also hope you get a clue.

Anger management therapy might help (1)

spun (1352) | about 7 years ago | (#20268377)

Holy crap. I thought I was an asshole. I'm an amateur compared to you. You win the Biggest Fucking Asshole of the Universe Trophy with that remark. Guy shows you up using nothing but the facts, and you hope he gets flooded? Wow. Just... wow.

Re:Adverse changes? (0, Troll)

Control Group (105494) | about 7 years ago | (#20268415)

Your sig is wholly appropriate.

Prick.

Re:Adverse changes? (5, Funny)

E++99 (880734) | about 7 years ago | (#20267085)

The intent is to detect any change in ocean circulation that may adversely influence global climate.

How would they discriminate between adverse and beneficial changes?

Haven't you heard? All change is adverse. Change that hurts humans is bad because it hurts the oppressed, and change that helps humans is bad because it helps the oppressors. Welcome to the 21st century, it's stranger than fiction.

Re:Adverse changes? (1)

John Whitley (6067) | about 7 years ago | (#20267827)

How would they discriminate between adverse and beneficial changes?
A shutdown of global ocean currents, as was the state (IIRC) roughly 10,000-14,000 years ago, will screw the world as we know it hard. Such a shutdown is believed to be a likely effect of a global increase in temperatures. The mechanism is roughly: temperatures rise causing ice packs to melt. This in turn desalinates the ocean. Lower salinity shuts down the deep ocean "salt pumps" which are the major force driving the currents [lighthouse...dation.org] . Once the currents shut down, they no longer act as powerful climate moderators, returning us to a time when radical and rapid climactic swings were the norm. Around the same time the current ocean currents formed, bringing that relative climactic stability, modern agriculture started. I.e. it became possible within a region to predict what crops could be planted and flourish year-over-year.

Beyond general scientific data collection, monitors such as this are useful to determine whether major changes in the newly discovered current are in progress and to track those changes against climactic effects. I know all this sounds passe compared to making up conspiracies based on oversimplifications and stereotypes, but it's a hell of a lot more useful.

No Baseline (1)

huckamania (533052) | about 7 years ago | (#20268511)

How exactly are you going to monitor changes to something that is newly discovered? Oh, that's right, we know what the ocean currents were like 10-14K years ago. We just forgot about this Tasman current.

Your post sounds like a mismatch of peer reviewed articles. Modern agriculture started when the ocean currents formed? A shutdown of global ocean currents 10-14K years ago?

I hope the view is pretty at the top of you house of cards.

Re:Adverse changes? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#20268843)

goof ball.

All climate scientist are greedy liars? Cause that would have to be the case.

Maybe you should try to understand what effects hurricanes before spouting crap out your ass.

Energy source (4, Interesting)

QuickFox (311231) | about 7 years ago | (#20266833)

We should tap these ocean currents for energy. We should have machines somewhat similar to wind turbines, anchored to the sea floor, floating in the middle of the flow.

These flows are far more steady and reliable than the wind. And no pollution. A great source of energy.

Re:Energy source (1)

SomeGuyTyping (751195) | about 7 years ago | (#20266917)

but the turbines will reduce the current - who knows what effects that may have.

Re:Energy source (1)

QuickFox (311231) | about 7 years ago | (#20267159)

That would require some really tremendous turbine farms! Those currents are enormous, bigger than countries. And water is heavy, which means the momentum is huge, which in turn means you can't easily slow the currents down.

A wind farm has far, far more effect on the wind, and to have an important effect on the wind you'd need a fantastically large wind farm.

I'm quite convinced that we can tap huge quantities of energy from deep water currents without having any measurable effect at all on the currents.

Re:Energy source (1)

SomeGuyTyping (751195) | about 7 years ago | (#20268231)

energy isn't free - by turning the turbines, you're taking some energy from the current. Maybe it's insignificant, but there is a loss

Re:Energy source (1)

QuickFox (311231) | about 7 years ago | (#20268561)

by turning the turbines, you're taking some energy from the current.
Yes, of course, that's my point, that's exactly what I'm saying. I'm saying that there are vast amounts of energy there, and we should use some fraction of it. I'm saying we should tap a thousand-billionth of it, or whatever. Even a tiny fraction would be a tremendous amount of energy.

Re:Energy source (1)

jafac (1449) | about 7 years ago | (#20268723)

Don't worry, when Ash Ketchum saves the day, Lugia will restore the flow of the world's ocean currents!

Re:Energy source (1)

Enuratique (993250) | about 7 years ago | (#20267001)

Except that to harness/convert the energy would be taking energy away from the super current. It's been a few years since I took an Earth and Atmospheric Science course, but it's a widely believed theory that these currents really do have a significant impact on global climate. The last ice age is believed to be linked to a near standstill of this global current. To take energy away from the current would slow it down, thus sending us into a new ice age.

NOT GOOD!

Re:Energy source (1)

QuickFox (311231) | about 7 years ago | (#20267273)

They are indeed vital and crucial for our climate system! But the weight and volume of moving water is absolutely huge. Even fantastically large turbine farms would be puny in relationship to these country-sized masses of moving water. We could tap quite fantastic amounts of energy without having any measurable effect at all on the currents.

Re:Energy source (2, Insightful)

Twanfox (185252) | about 7 years ago | (#20268277)

Isn't that what they said about global warming, that we're basically so insignificant to the size of the planet that nothing we could possibly do would harm the environment (hint: look at measurements for human-caused CO2 emissions into the air)? And wait, didn't we just read about (at least on a lower scale) China happily forcing the white dolphin to extinction because of their insignificant push on the environment (yay, toxic dumping!)?

Don't for a second dismiss out of hand the effect we might have on the environment simply because "it's so big compared to what WE could do." That's how we've gotten in trouble already, and you want to be so stupid as to continue down that path? If you want to ensure your untimely demise, by all means, get a gun and pop one into your cranium. However, until we know for certain what the ramifications of such a system would be, we should consider it potentially dangerous.

Frankly, it scares me to death when people start talking about tapping into the few things like ocean currents that keep the heat circulating from hot places to cold places. Shut those down and the hot places are going to get incredibly hot and the cold places are going to be terribly frigid. Some all-fired nasty storms happen when you have colliding air masses with huge variations in temperature.

Re:Energy source (1)

QuickFox (311231) | about 7 years ago | (#20268851)

By your reasoning we should stop deploying wind turbines. They have far more effect than any ocean-current turbines can ever have. Note that air is far lighter than water, and moves temperatures around far faster than water.

I don't want to imply that we should be careless, and just blindly deploy new technology without considering the consequences. But with your reasoning we couldn't do anything at all. Almost anything you can think of will have far more effect than turbines in deep ocean currents. Note that the masses of moving water really are much larger than entire countries.

Of course at some point in the far future we could reach a point where the number of turbines is getting too large. But we're not there yet. We're very, very far from there.

The alternatives that are now actively deployed, like wind and geothermal and ethanol, have far more impact. I don't think that sitting back and waiting is a good solution. We need to explore and develop alternatives. This is one alternative worth evaluating.

Actually, it may be a good way to counter (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#20267291)

The only problem is that we do not know where the tipping points are.

Re:Energy source (1)

hanshotfirst (851936) | about 7 years ago | (#20267453)

To take energy away from the current would slow it down, thus sending us into a new ice age.

I think you just hit on the solution to global warming. Counteract it by triggering cooling down here in the oceans AND generating an alternative energy source at the same time. We can even sell more high-margin SUVs to fund it, since we can counteract greenhouse heating with oceanic cooling, and tax those sales in the process to fund any environmental program of choice.

More realistically, wind turbines don't stop the wind from blowing, so I doubt a few turbines down in the current will stop it, either.

Re:Energy source (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 7 years ago | (#20268691)

The ocean currents stopping will not trigger global cooling. They will stop the transfer of heat from one place to another, leading to the cold end of the current becoming colder, and the hot end becoming hotter.

Re:Energy source (4, Interesting)

evil agent (918566) | about 7 years ago | (#20267329)

They're trying to do this in the East River in New York. Unsuccessfully so far...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/13/nyregion/13power .html [nytimes.com]

Re:Energy source - MOD PARENT INTERESTING (1)

Radon360 (951529) | about 7 years ago | (#20267633)

Interesting article, though they are using tidal currents and not oceanic currents that are normally induced by thermal convections. Nonetheless, the mechanism for harnessing energy is largely the same.

Wonder if any article similar to this was ever submitted to Slashdot?

Re:Energy source (1)

QuickFox (311231) | about 7 years ago | (#20267659)

"Unsuccessfully"? The article that you link to says their price is already only slightly higher than traditional energy production. That sounds extremely good for such an early stage in new technology.

Bugs are to be expected in the beginning. Saying that they are unsuccessful just because they have bugs is like saying that a programmer is unsuccessful because he's debugging his program.

Of course there could be other problems not mentioned in the article. But from the information in the article I'd say their technology seems very promising.

Now I know... (1)

Brad_sk (919670) | about 7 years ago | (#20266977)

Now I know why temperature been 100+ since last one week...

This is what we need to be doing (1, Interesting)

Absolut187 (816431) | about 7 years ago | (#20267003)

Rather than arguing about the cause of climate change, we need to focus on solutions to the problems it is creating, and monitoring of the climate.

We need to come up with solutions.
For example, if we had a way to do desalinzation on a massive scale, we could pump billions of gallons of water inland into the continents of Africa and Asia. This would solve the drought problems by providing fresh water, and it would also reduce sea level.
We could dig massive holding ponds in the middle of Africa, and/or use natural basins to store the water. This will help slow sea level rise.

And we need to be prepared to do whatever it takes to keep the ocean currents flowing.
Whether it be raising or lowering the salt content of certain areas of the ocean.
We should generally be more on top of it.

But we might as well stop arguing about whether cars are causing it, because there is 0% chance that people will stop driving. Human beings are clearly dumb enough to ignore a problem until it kills them. At least if the solution requires that we endure a minor inconvenience (i.e. living near work and walking).

Re:This is what we need to be doing (1)

E++99 (880734) | about 7 years ago | (#20267243)

First of all, even if you filled up the enormous below-sea-level areas of dead sea valley and the death valley with ocean water, the change in sea level would be fairly insignificant. Anyway, the rate of sea level rise is, for lack of a better word, glacial. Beach erosion and hurricanes will be a much larger problem for most coastal cities than other sea level change -- unless an incredibly massive volcano erupts under Antarctica. One day, we'll get as smart as the ancients were, and we'll stop building cities on coasts. (Granted, they had much greater, and much more sudden sea level rises to deal with.)

But that would change the climate (2, Informative)

yintercept (517362) | about 7 years ago | (#20267383)

desalinzation on a massive scale, we could pump billions of gallons of water inland into the continents of Africa and Asia.

The efforts you suggest would change the climate. The climate change debate says that we need to stop change. It does not say that we need to work on technologies to make our lives better. If a place was covered with a glacier in 1976, then it needs to be covered with a glacier in 2076. If a place was covered with a barren desert in 1976, it needs to be covered with a desert in 2176.

Everything needs to stay the same. And it will stay the same, if we just moved real slow.

Re:This is what we need to be doing (1)

Radon360 (951529) | about 7 years ago | (#20267833)

Well, I suppose if you like treating the symptoms rather than the cause. But then again, we haven't identified all of the causes and their extents a this point, so perhaps the best we can do is largely treat problems symptomatically for now.

While no doubt what you suggest as "conservation corps" project would certainly do good in Africa, its effect on climate change would probably be relative to pissing in Lake Superior to raise the water temperature.

Oh, yeah. What is the energy source for these desalinization units? Solar? Unless the lake is really deep, the output might very well evaporate faster than you can make it. Then again, one ginormous pool solar blanket might be the solution. Using a carbon-based fuel would be rather self-defeating of the purpose for doing it in the first place.

Re:This is what we need to be doing (1)

Kerstyun (832278) | about 7 years ago | (#20267941)

We could dig massive holding ponds in the middle of Africa
We most certianly could not. Get some nigger's to do. It ain't exacly like theys got shawtige of 'em over their an most of them's sitting and not doin much if the TV's anythink to go by.

Re:This is what we need to be doing (1)

Do You Smell That (932346) | about 7 years ago | (#20267953)

Just picking a nit...

If I were to try to live near work and walk in (43rd and Broadway, NYC), my monthly rent would easily triple to somewhere in the range of $3000/mo.

While I'm all for not driving, the answer isn't walking. It's public transportation.

"How is this relavant to the article", you might ask. Well, that's a mighty good question. My idea, see, is to invent a habitable plastic sphere which has a bouyancy which would naturally put it about 800 to 1000 meters underwater. That way, you can live in Tasmania, get up in the morning, get dressed, pop into your sphere, and roll yourself off into the ocean. After descending, you'll be briskly whisked away to Australia's east coast (without any fossil fuels being burned!), which is where I'm assuming you work. Now, the article doesn't mention the speed at which this 'supergyre' flows, so we'll assume ~1500kph, which would mean you'd be pulling up off the coast about 15 mins after leaving!!

Getting home... now that's another matter.

Re:This is what we need to be doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20268305)

It has been so long since I've seen any creative thinking, I almost didn't catch it here.

You, sir, are wonderful. I'm not saying whether your ideas are good or bad, or whether they will or won't work.

I just wanted to thank you for a bright spot of creative thinking amidst the 50 year storm of blah blah blah blah.....

The world needs more creativity and less intelligence. Smarts is getting in the way of solutions.

Re:This is what we need to be doing (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 7 years ago | (#20268785)

Rather than arguing about the cause of climate change, we need to focus on solutions to the problems it is creating, and monitoring of the climate.
You're half right: rather than arguing about the cause of climate change, we should be arguing about whether or not it's a problem in the first place. Longer growing seasons in the extreme north, a wetter Sahara, these are good things.

Besides which, you're assuming that humans can control the weather. That's a pretty bold assumption, and until there's definitive evidence that we can actually change the weather, I'm going to remain a skeptic on anthropogenic global warming (and if it isn't anthropogenic, then there's nothing we can do to stop it, either).

Re:This is what we need to be doing (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | about 7 years ago | (#20269007)

Of course we can control the weather - if we try.
The world is just a big chemistry experiment.

My point is that it is time for us to take charge of the experiment.

Ted Stevens had this comment... (2, Funny)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 7 years ago | (#20267033)

It's an underwater series of tubes!

Re:Ted Stevens had this comment... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 7 years ago | (#20267483)

The Tasman Outflow eats ships, canoes, sailboats, barges, dinghies, divers, bouys, tankers, submarines....AND ESPECIALLY RABBITS!

Re:Ted Stevens had this comment... (1)

Cctoide (923843) | about 7 years ago | (#20268401)

You can't fit all of those in a big truck.

Settled? (1)

gsfprez (27403) | about 7 years ago | (#20267265)

so, theres a ginormous ocean flow that no one in the "settled science" camp knew about that has not been taken into account in global warming predictions?

Arrange this next to the .1 degree miscalc with the y2k problem from NASA last week... and one would get the feeling that settled doesn't mean what it used to mean.

Who named it? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20267327)

"a major underwater current called the Tasman Outflow has been discovered"

When they discovered it, who informed us that the name of it was the "Tasman Outflow" ???

Re:Who named it? (1)

bugnuts (94678) | about 7 years ago | (#20268429)

I'm also glad they told me it was an underwater current. I was afraid it might be some other sort of above-water current connecting 3 oceans.

Re:Who named it? (1)

Teilo (91279) | about 7 years ago | (#20268771)

They can read, can't they? Duh!

Adversely affect? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 7 years ago | (#20267433)

My plans to colonize Antartica are going great?

Mind you, all you people in the former temperate zone are going to learn why the Aboriginal Caucasoid population of Australia has brown skin now ...

Yet another .. human error .. (1)

terbo (307578) | about 7 years ago | (#20267629)

Why is it, that everything we have discovered thus far, is taken as concrete fact, until something else is discovered?
How can such brazen destruction of the natural environment be taken in vain, until some new "scientific discovery" comes
about, saying how (obviously) destructive the past ways have been .. Oh, I don't expect any notice to be said, until the
world is on the brink of extinction ..

Seems we keep going forward, until we get the chance to look back and see, that the guys living in the bushes, had it all
worked out, and had been here before, with the gadgets, and the great disconnection from the earth, living in their heads,
and had been close to total elimination of the species, and had just went "Hmm, maybe we don't need cell phones .."

Just a general outlash on all the stupidity of the recent "scientific" "discoveries" posted here. Such crap.

Quote on the page:

"HELLO, everybody, I'm a HUMAN!!"

Between? (1)

TFer_Atvar (857303) | about 7 years ago | (#20267817)

The summary is incorrect. It should be among three oceans, not between them. Between implies two objects. Among implies three or more.

A bit more complicated than you would think... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 years ago | (#20268213)

To quote Merriam-Webster:

"There is a persistent but unfounded notion that between can be used only of two items and that among must be used for more than two. Between has been used of more than two since Old English; it is especially appropriate to denote a one-to-one relationship, regardless of the number of items."
It goes on, quoting the following examples:

"It can be used when the number is unspecified 'economic cooperation between nations', when more than two are enumerated 'between you and me and the lamppost' 'partitioned between Austria, Prussia, and Russia -- Nathaniel Benchley', and even when only one item is mentioned (but repetition is implied) 'pausing between every sentence to rap the floor -- George Eliot'. Among is more appropriate where the emphasis is on distribution rather than individual relationships 'discontent among the peasants'.

I don't have OED handy right now, but a quotation I found on the Web says:

[Between] is still the only word available to express the relation of a thing to many surrounding things severally and individually, among expressing a relation to them collectively and vaguely: we should not say the space lying among the three points, or a treaty among three powers, or the choice lies among the three candidates in the select list, or to insert a needle among the closed petals of a flower.

Note that I'm not a native speaker of English, but I would never dare to question the authority of OED. Minds you, such a simplistic view of the grammar of a natural language that you present can easily bring you into trouble. And as the water flow can only take place between two oceans, not "among" (in the vague sense of this word) several of them, I would go for "between", as in "between each two of them".

OK, but what does the program do? (0, Offtopic)

Undead Ed (1068120) | about 7 years ago | (#20268039)

It sounds like Microsoft Vista II.

Undead Ed

Prior Art (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20268287)

Didn't the sea turtles in Finding Nemo already figure this out?

Making a cheap shot (1)

Token_Internet_Girl (1131287) | about 7 years ago | (#20269133)

Tasmanian Devil tested, Road Runner approved.
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