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Massive Ocean Vortex Found Off WA Coast

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party_chica +

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Massive Ocean Vortex Found Off WA Coast
http://au.news.yahoo.com/060602/2/z7sc.html

A massive ocean vortex discovered off the West Australian coast is acting as a "death trap" by sucking in huge amounts of fish larvae, and it could affect the surrounding climate.

A team of scientists from The University of Western Australia Murdoch University, CSIRO and three American, French and Spanish research institutions announced the discovery of the vortex after a month-long research voyage in the ocean just west of Rottnest Island.
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Led by Dr Anya Waite, a biological oceanographer from UWA, the 10-member team found the vortex - 200km in diameter and 1,000m deep - spinning at speeds of up to 5kph just off the Rottnest Canyon.

Dr Waite said the vortex, shaped like a giant child's spinning top, was created by current movement down the coast and is one of the largest ever found off WA.

Visible from space, the vortex is acting as a "death trap" by sucking in fish larvae from closer to the shore, she said.

"It's actually acting as a predator, it's actually taking the fish larvae which need to stick around their natural habitat on the coast, and dragging them off to sea," Dr Waite said.

She said the climate above the vortex was noticeably different.

"It feels like you're in the tropics," she said.

"It's warm, soft, moist air, with flying fish, it's a very different environment."

It could also potentially affect climate further afield, she said.

"The vortex is moving a large volume of a very warm current out back into cooler waters, so essentially it's taking that heat and moving it away from the coast.

"So essentially that really changes the heat budget of our regional ocean and it's the ocean that determines climate."

Dr Waite said the vortex was unlikely to pose a danger to people sailing or diving in the area but the change was definitely noticeable.

"We were in a 70-metre boat and you could immediately feel the shift in the ship's tract, so you can certainly tell that there's something unusual going on out there," she said.

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cool stuff, man the ocean is soooo mysterious! i was reading tim flannery's the weather makers, i love how alfred wallace called the atmosphere 'the ocean of air'

anyways, wonder wat has triggered this vortex?

i heard that there is a current called Napoleon's Tongue in SA (or maybe it is Bonaparte's Tongue, my apologies) which is caused as the warm, saline water that gets trapped at the top of the gulf of st vincent cools and rapidly flows back out to the ocean, as this mass current...freaky!
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The Leeuwin current runs down the wa coast past perth and rotto, It's very likely tied in with that somewhere along the line, like a temporary eddie or sumat. Probably happened hundreds of times, it's just now we have the money to waste on sitting out there observing it.
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Unlikely to danger people eh... Can we chuck Morris Iemma in to test?
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...unlike the massive Land Vortex to be found in Wembley

- sucks all the life out of anything that comes near it.
Buy the ticket, take the ride.
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just what i was thinkin..
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Quote:

Originally Posted by hunter

...unlike the massive Land Vortex to be found in Wembley

- sucks all the life out of anything that comes near it.

hheheh I like your sig! :blush:
I wish I were an artist.
to live in dark corners of beautiful cities.
music to coat my ears and beat my heart.
passion, love and splatters of paint.
coffee cups, cobble stones and soft clouds of smoke.
There is so much beauty in this world.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by hunter

I was burning bridges
while you burnt your last cigarette
you said: baby, you'll regret this
I said: I know - je regrette

Love it.
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