For the record—I am not an extreme environmentalist or what some would call a “tree hugger”. But, I had long wondered why there was salt water in the oceans. Decades later, after leaving the question basically unanswered, I can finally thank the Weather Channel for the solution all these years later.
And the answer is—weather. Without the salty oceans of earth, we would not have weather. Correction, without the salty oceans of earth we would not have the weather that we have all grown accustomed.
So, how does this salty water play into the grand scheme of things? First, it is important to recognize that cold salt water is heavier than warm salt water. This allows the colder salt water to sink to the bottom and the warm salt water to rise to the top. The action contributes to the overall movement of the oceans across the globe. But, it doesn’t end there.
Second, the movement is known as conveyor action. Yes, like the conveyor belt. The motion of cold/sink works with the motion of warm/rise to bring warm air north and cool air south and vice versa during the various times of the year to create distinct weather patterns and seasons.
Third, when we have global warming, we also affect the currents. Yes, you know this is bad because it melts the ice flows. The fresh water ice flows. However, you may not know that as the salty northern oceans get more input from fresh water ice flows, the salinity imbalance that would normally allow the rising/sinking action cannot properly occur. Then, no conveyor action can occur. Therefore, no exchange of the warm air normally carried in the salt water currents to other parts of the globe. No conveyor? No salinity cycling. No salinity cycling? No currents. No currents? No warm air exchange. No warm air exchange? Messed up weather.
Fourth, more bad news. When the waters are stagnant, the air is impacted due to levels of saturation and precipitation cycles. Which, in turn, causes droughts, large storms and other weather patterns that jeopardize the delicate balance of things like growing seasons.
I guess when I asked the question when I was 6 why the water was salty, I did not know that I was asking about the fragile state of life on earth. But more importantly, why did I wait nearly 4 decades later to ask the question again?