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Thermohaline: definition.

The ocean consists almost entirely of water and salt. The {density} of ocean water depends on both temperature (T) and salinity (S). The “thermohaline” circulation of the ocean refers to the flow of ocean water caused by changes in density. This can occur as the ocean is warmed or cooled at the surface by radiation and contact with the atmosphere, or by the addition of fresh water (rain, snow, and river runoff) or salt (from formation of sea ice). See our “Climate” page for an example of the thermohaline circulation.