Mysteries of bottom water



Ocean bottom water has historically represented a constant physical entity to most geophysicists. The ocean floor has long been modeled as a classic isothermal, semi-infinite surface in geophysical calculations. Peter Rhines of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution recently said about the subject of bottom water, ‘We've all been trained to imagine that the deep ocean is steady…. It's not so much a belief, but a practice that became a way of teaching’ (Science, November 12, 1982).