Polar oceans and their global significance

Rory Bingham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


In this chapter, the author describes his understanding regarding the mechanisms by which the polar oceans influence climate. He provides an overview of the worlds' oceans' overturning circulation. Having established the importance of the polar oceans in maintaining the climate, the author examines their role in the dramatic changes in Earth's past climate. He considers the global significance of the polar oceans in the present and future warming world. The polar oceans influence climate in numerous ways. They impact on the stability of the ice sheets, with direct implications for global temperatures and sea level. The Southern Ocean and the marginal seas surrounding Antarctica also shape climate through the pivotal roles they play in the global overturning circulation. The ocean's global overturning circulation drives changes in the polar oceans that can influence ice sheet stability. The impacts of warming on the polar oceans include surface freshening due to increased ice sheet melting, rising ocean temperatures and loss of sea ice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of the Polar Regions
EditorsMark Nuttall, Torben Christensen, Martin Siegert
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781317549574
ISBN (Print)9781138843998
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2018


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