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SIGNATURE Title: PhySIcal and bioGeochemical traciNg of wATer masses at source areas and export gates in the Ross Sea and impact on the SoUtheRn OcEan
Research Unit Leader ISP: Maurizio Azzaro
Leading Institution: Marche Polytechnic University of Ancona
Funding: Ministero Università e Ricerca - Programma Nazionale di Ricerche in Antartide (MUR-PNRA)
Period of activity: 2021 - 2024

Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) is the most voluminous water mass in the deep ocean and is the primary source of oxygen to the abyss. AABW is supplied by dense water formed on the Antarctic continental shelf by strong winter cooling and brine released during sea ice formation. Ross Sea Bottom Water (RSBW), the second largest source of AABW, is formed by the mixing of High Salinity Shelf Water (HSSW) and Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) along the continental slope. Over the past 50 years, the salinity, density and volume of AABW has decreased, with the most dramatic changes observed in the Ross Sea. These changes have been attributed to increased melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The SIGNATURE project is aimed to study, through a multidisciplinary approach, the main Ross Sea water masses in strategic areas (sources and gates) of the continental shelf to investigate their spatial and temporal variability and the contribution to their formation.

Project Partners
• Marche Polytechnic University of Ancona (Italy)
• University of Genoa (Italy)
• Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale - OGS (Italy)

ministero Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale
L'Italia e l’Artico
L’Italia e l’Antartide

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