Discovered in Deep Ocean: New Current That Transports Water to One of World’s Largest “Waterfalls”

Deep Ocean Current

Deep ocean current

An international team discovered a previously unrecognized ocean current that transports water to one of the world’s largest “waterfalls” in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Bank Channel Overflow into the deep North Atlantic. While investigating the pathways that water takes to feed this major waterfall, the research team identified a surprising path of the cold and dense water flowing at depth, which led to the discovery of this new ocean current.

“This new ocean current and the path it takes toward the Faroe Bank Channel are exciting findings,” said Léon Chafik, the lead author of the paper published in Nature Communications and a research scientist at Stockholm University, Sweden.

High-Seas Ferry MS Norröna

The high-seas ferry MS Norröna, cited in the Nature Communications paper, measures upper ocean currents with an ADCP (acoustic Doppler current profiler) installed in its hull as it makes a weekly roundtrip between Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland. Credit: Erik Christensen – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

“The two discoveries reported here, in one of the best-studied areas of the world ocean, is a stark reminder that we still have much to learn about the Nordic Seas,” said co-author Thomas Rossby, emeritus professor at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. “This is crucial given the absolutely fundamental role they play in the major glacial-interglacial climate swings.”

Previous studies dealing with this deep flow have long assumed that these cold waters, which flow along the northern slope of the Faroes, turn directly into the Faroe-Shetland Channel (the region the water flows through before reaching the Faroe Bank Channel). Instead, Chafik and the paper’s co-authors show that there exists another path into the Faroe-Shetland Channel. They show that water can take a longer path all the way to the continental margin outside Norway before turning south heading toward this major waterfall. “Revealing this newly identified path from available observations was not a straightforward process and took us a good deal of time to piece together,” said Chafik.

The researchers also found this new path depends on prevailing wind conditions. “It seems that the atmospheric circulation plays a major role in orchestrating the identified flow regimes,” added Chafik.

The study further reveals that much of the water that will end up in the Faroe Bank Channel is not in fact transported along the western side of the Faroe-Shetland Channel (the region the water flows through before reaching the Faroe Bank Channel), as previously thought. Instead, most of this water comes from the eastern side of the Faroe-Shetland Channel where it is transported by a jet-like and deep-reaching ocean current. “This was a curious but very exciting finding, especially since we are aware that a very similar flow structure exists in the Denmark Strait. We are pleased that we were able to identify this new ocean current both in observations and a high-resolution ocean general circulation model,” said Chafik.

“Because this newly discovered flow path and ocean current play an important part in the ocean circulation at higher latitudes, its discovery adds to our limited understanding of the overturning circulation in the Atlantic Ocean,” said Chafik. “This discovery would not have been possible without many institutional efforts over the years.”

Reference: “Discovery of an unrecognized pathway carrying overflow waters toward the Faroe Bank Channel” by Léon Chafik, Hjálmar Hátún, Joakim Kjellsson, Karin Margretha H. Larsen, Thomas Rossby and Barbara Berx, 24 July 2020, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-17426-8

5 Comments on "Discovered in Deep Ocean: New Current That Transports Water to One of World’s Largest “Waterfalls”"

  1. John Campbell | August 6, 2020 at 9:59 am | Reply

    I read an article about the North Faroe overflow ten years ago. There’s no discovery here.

    The above story about water currents explains just what is going on with this global warming problem that we all face on Earth. Back in 1960’s jet engine airplanes starting replacing propeller airplanes. Also at the time period China started it’s massive industrial buildup which led to massive pollution and heat being emitted into the atmosphere. Then at that time in the 1960’s air conditioning world wide started up in mass production. Add to the global warming problem automobiles which was also being used worldwide in mass quantities. This all added up to more heat being put into this bubble we humans live in called Earth’s atmosphere. We humans and the rest of life on Earth have been living in this bubble quite well for millions of years. However when you mess with this bubble we live in then just take a look around and see if you can find another floating rock in the universe where there is a life system that we humans and all other life can live on. There isn’t any and if you were to find one it would be impossible for us humans to live on because it is impossible for us humans to transport our bodies through space for long periods of time. We don’t have the body to survive in weightlessness and we don’t possess the intelligence or ability to make all the equipment that will be needed to create machines that let us get to and live on another planet. And then the cost alone and the amount of people it would take to achieve that goal of living on other planets would be too much for all of us on Earth to do! So we better take care of what rock in space we live on because no matter what NASA and others say as they try to pick your pocket for more money for their pie in the sky dreams about space travel this is the only place in the universe we are going to be able to live so wake up and face reality! The combination of all the things I mentioned above that started happening in the 1960’s started a chain reaction that resulted in the catastrophe we are in today. All that heat released into this bubble we live in resulted in the unbalancing of the hot and cold molecules that are everywhere from the ground up to the most outer part of the bubble we all live in called Earth’s atmosphere. Now this balancing of hot and cold molecules are very important to maintaining life on Earth. For great things happen like clouds and rain when these molecules are balanced just right. And I say history shows that we humans and all other life on this rock we call Earth didn’t have any problems living on this rock we call Earth for billions of years. But now we so called intelligent people have decided that we can do what we want and think we can live on this planet with no problem after we do what we do! Well I hate to burst your bubble and wake you from the dream world you all live in make you face reality but you are in very deep trouble. You see since the 1960’s when us humans started flying jet engine airplanes and rockets and weaponized rockets as well as driving all those combustion engine cars and running all these air conditioners we have in effect unbalanced the balance of hot and cold molecules in the bubble we live in and that resulted in the Earth’s weather systems to be changed in such a way that now with the hot molecules overpowering the cold molecules in this bubble we live in the battle between the Earth and the Sun for existence of life on Earth will be won by the Sun as it cooks our paradise we call Earth into another one of the billions lifeless planets in the universe. Yes folks, there is a battle between the Earth and the Sun. The Earth is trying to do things that allow us humans and all other life to live here. The Earth can create clouds that shield the Sun’s hot rays from cooking the Earth into areas that like deserts or other planets. In fact clouds are Earth’s only shield from the Sun’s hot rays. Without the clouds there is no rain. Without rain there would be no water. Without the clouds constantly raining somewhere on Earth then the Earth’s waters would all evaporate from the rays of the Sun. Without the right amount of moisture in the atmosphere there would be no rain. When you see clouds that yield no rain you are looking at water being evaporated and disappearing forever from the Earth forever by the Sun’s hot heat waves. It’s not good for the Earth to lose water when it is not producing rain! And all the things we humans have been doing since the 1960’s with jet planes, rockets, combustion engine vehicles and air conditioning it has resulted in much more heat in our bubble we call Earth’s atmosphere. This resulted in the Earth’s temperature to rise which affected the cold and hot ballance of molecules and the hot molecules started overpowering the Earth’s cold molecules. The earth’s temperature started rising in the 1960’s and the first chain of disastrous events started unfolding in the Russian part of the Earth in it’s permafrost region. Folk,s permafrost is the easiest form of ice to melt. And when the earth’s temperature rose just a little it was enough to start the melting of all that ice in the area in Russia where the permafrost was. Well when that permafrost melted it turned to water and all that water started draining into the seas and ocean around that part of Russia. Ever since the 1960’s when this melting of Russia’s permafrost started happening this melted permafrost water was draining into the North Pole region and slowly year after year has been melting the ice in the North Pole. There are photos that I have seen that were posted on the internet by some gov’t or someone that showed that this was happening from the 1960’s to modern time! As the warmer melted permafrost water melted the North Pole’s waters that water traveled through the water current travelling around the world and warmed up the waters of the South Pole area. This caused the waters of the Earth to become warmer which then put the Earth into new weather patterns which are dictated by environmental conditions. That is the condition that our Earth is in today. If we continue on the way we are going then in about 10-15 years all or most of the ice in the North Pole will be melted. In about 15-20 years all or most of the ice in the South Pole will be melted. In 5-15 years all the ice glaciers and snow covered mountains will disappear. The Earth will then produce less cold molecules and the Sun will produce more hot molecules. Us humans produce massive amounts of hot molecules daily from these jet engine airplanes and rockets! Go to to see how many of these jet planes are flying at any moment worldwide. There use to be about 9,000 daily worldwide by these jet planes worldwide before the days of the coronavirus epidemic but I’m sure that there is at least 7,000 flights or more on the average a day now. And doesn’t even include any military planes of any nation on it’s radar system. Now bear in mind that these jet engine planes create massive amounts of hot molecules and pollution. The passenger jet planes exhaust temperature ranges from 800 degrees for small jet planes to 1200 degrees for large passenger jet planes. Military jet planes exhaust temperatures range from 1200 to 2500 degrees. Rockets are much hotter. The Space Shuttle was as hot as the Sun! All this heat is emitted daily into our atmosphere and has been since the 1960’s by these jets and rockets! Then to top it off these jet planes are also gigantic vacuum machines that are sucking up, heating up and polluting enough air and moisture out of our atmosphere to fill an enclosed Super Dome Stadium every 2 minutes! Google search all the pollutants that these passenger flying cigar shape vacuum and polluting machines we call jet planes emit and you will see that it is very difficult for nature to produce clouds from all the pollutants and heat that we humans emit into our atmosphere! Folks, we have got to stop flying rockets and jet engine airplanes of all kinds. We have to go back to flying propeller airplanes because they don’t pollute or heat up our atmosphere. we have to stop driving combustion engine cars and start driving electric cars or even better devise a new transportation system that doesn’t involve any or very little pollution or heat. Then we have to redesign our buildings and dwellings so that we don’t need air conditioning or very little air conditioning. We have to do these things now before anymore ice or snow melts anywhere on the Earth. If we bring down Earth’s temperature to the point it was in about 1875 then the Earth will stop experiencing global warming and start rebuilding it’s ice and snow covered areas of the Earth. If you wait too long and the ice and snow covered areas of the earth are lessen drastically then it will be very hard and most likely impossible to stop the Sun’s hot rays from creating more hot molecules which then will overpower the cold molecules which will then lead to less clouds which will then lead to less water which will then lead to massive worldwide droughts, starvations, deaths by thirst, chaos, riots, break down of law and order worldwide, rapes, murders and all kinds of violence and diseases as world order comes to an end! That’s what you folks have to face very soon! I am an old man who won’t be around to witness your future you are building for yourselves. But I thought you ought to know so that maybe just by chance you decided to do something about it and change your way of living so that you are not killing your only place to live called Earth! But if no one listens to me and in 20-30 years you see that the Sun is going to win the battle that it fights with every planet in the universe as it bakes each planet with it’s heat waves remember that you have one more thing that you can do to stop global warming and that is to somehow put as much volcano ash into the upper atmosphere worldwide so that the ash blocks the Sun’s rays from reaching the surface of the Earth. Doing this will cool down the Earth. Nature has done exactly the same over the years and it worked. Massive volcano eruptions have cooled the Earth before and can do it again anytime! It will be your only chance to save the Earth. Perhaps start doing it now to help cool the Earth! But do something quick folks because time is running out. Every year the earth’s weather patterns are going to be affected by this global warming. We can’t let political parties nonsense stand in the way to success. we have to have politicians in office who know how to fix our problems and care to fix our problems. This is no longer the time to deny that global warming is happening, this is the time to do something about or our planet and all live on Earth dies! Read for more info about this topic as well as many other topics.

  3. To the last comment, apparently it must be said that the article says nothing about NASA. I have worked on the battery packs that keep astronauts Alive. And I must say, it is a privilege to say that I have helped a minute amount in SPACE exploration. Cannot wait to see the unwrapping of the oceans secrets! High above or down below, it’s all a mystery. Don’t you remember being a kid wanting to learn anything and everything? Thank you to everyone else out there that has and continue to discover secrets of the ocean.. and for the last comment.. the moon.

  4. To the very long comment two post above, though I don’t dispute a good amount of what you say I also don’t think you’ve grasped the concept of thermodynamics. You see when you heat something up it takes energy which has to come from somewhere. So that means something else is getting cold. Which means that the exhaust heat from all of the stuff you mentioned is irrelevant to your argument. The pollution argument is valid as we see how this traps unwanted heat in or can creates holes in the ozone that leave our planet vulnerable.

  5. Perhaps if you read this article you would find out it adds to the previous information with a new channel.

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