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By P.C. Chu and J.C. Gascard (Eds.)

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1 INTRODUCIION Within the antarctic zone, stretching from the continental margins of Antarctica to the oceanic polar front (a span of roughly 35 million Km2) the thermohaline stratification consists of cold surface water “floating”, by virtue of its reduced salinity, over a much thicker stratum of warmer and saltier deep water (Bagriantsev et al. 1989). The top of the deep water is marked by temperature and salinity maxima and an oxygen minimum near 200 to 400 meters depth. The source of the warm/salty deep water mass is the circumpolar deep water, a blend of the world ocean’s deep waters, including (but not exclusively composed of) the warm and salty North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW).

Jour. Geop. Res. 95(C6): 9461- 9480. , W. Broecker, H. Craig and R. Weiss, 1982. Geosecs Indian Ocean Expedition, Volume 6, sections and profiles. C. 140 pages. , M. Lange, and S. Ackley, 1987. The ice thickness distribution across the Atlantic sector of the Antarctic Ocean in midwinter. J. Geophys. , 92(C13): 14,535-14,552. , III, 1983. Monitoring the transport of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current at Drake Passage. JPO, 13: 2045-2057. Whitworth, T. III and R. G . Peterson, 1985. The volume transport of the Antarctic Circumpolar current from three-year bottom pressure measurements.

It is likely that the present day circulation pattern with effective deep Ocean cooling is related to the ice sheet reaching the coastal region (Hays, 1967). A fully glaciered Antarctica allows very cold air to reach the coastal ocean, forming cold shelf water that feeds formation of AABW (Gordon, 1971). An additional effect may be the depression of continental margins under the weight of the glacial ice sheet. The Antarctic continental shelf averages 500 m (Jacobs, 1989), significantly greater than the other continental blocks.

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