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Scientists discover giant missing blob of water in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

Scientists discover giant missing blob of water in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

It's solved a decades-old mystery.

Beneath the surface of our planet's oceans, there are waterfalls, and rivers, that stretch for thousands of miles.

And whilst we might not think anything more of them, scientists have said otherwise after a crazy discovery.

The team of scientists have found one of these enormous water blobs in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, spanning from the tip of Brazil to the Gulf of Guinea.

This newly discovered water mass, named the Atlantic Equatorial Water, was a surprise because while similar water masses were known to mix along the equator in the Pacific and Indian oceans, they had never been seen in the Atlantic before.

Giulia Dalla Stella/Getty
Giulia Dalla Stella/Getty

This was after research from 1942, according to LiveScience.

However, thanks to data collected by the Argo programme, a temperature-salinity (T-S) curve was spotted parallel to the North Atlantic and South Atlantic Central waters.

This was after the team installed an international collection of robotic, self-submerging floats across Earth’s oceans. They could then map temperature and salinity across a wide range of ocean environments.

Using that data, researchers modelled the top 2,000 metres of the Atlantic along the equator, looking for a T-S curve - and indeed, they found it!

'It seemed controversial that the equatorial water mass is present in the Pacific and Indian oceans but missing in the Atlantic Ocean because the equatorial circulation and mixing in all three oceans have common features,' said Viktor Zhurbas, a physicist and oceanologist at The Shirshov Institute of Oceanology in Moscow.

'The identified new water mass has allowed us to complete (or at least more accurately describe) the phenomenological pattern of basic water masses of the World Ocean.'

Mike Hill/Getty
Mike Hill/Getty

The Atlantic Equatorial Water is formed by the mixing of different water bodies by currents along the equator.

To identify these water masses, oceanographers study the relationship between temperature and salinity to reveal the density of seawater.

Zhurbas explained that it was easy to confuse the Atlantic Equatorial Water with the South Atlantic Central Water.

'In order to distinguish them, it was necessary to have a fairly dense network of vertical temperature and salinity profiles covering the entire Atlantic Ocean,' he added.

This remarkable discovery solves a decades-long mystery about this missing Atlantic blob. Experts can use this finding to better understand oceans and how they mix to transport heat, oxygen and nutrients around the world.

Featured Image Credit: Giulia Dalla Stella/Mike Hill/Getty