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Thermohaline feedback loops and natural capital
Hopkins, T.S. (2001). Thermohaline feedback loops and natural capital, in: Gili, J.-M. et al. (Ed.) A Marine Science Odyssey into the 21st Century. Scientia Marina (Barcelona), 65(Suppl. 2): pp. 231-256
In: Gili, J.-M.; Pretus, J.L.; Packard, T.T. (Ed.) (2001). A Marine Science Odyssey into the 21st Century. Scientia Marina (Barcelona), 65(Suppl. 2). Institut de Ciències del Mar: Barcelona. 326 pp., more
In: Scientia Marina (Barcelona). Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. Institut de Ciènces del Mar: Barcelona. ISSN 0214-8358, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Hopkins, T.S. (2001). Thermohaline feedback loops and natural capital. Sci. Mar. (Barc.) 65(Suppl. 2): 231-256, more

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    Marine

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  • Hopkins, T.S.

Abstract
    Human interference now represents an inextricable component of all major ecosystems. Whether this is through top-down overharvesting of ecosystem production or bottom-up alteration (deliberate or inadvertent) of the abiotic conditions, the planet´s ecosphere is in a vicious degradation cycle. For our economy to shift from exploiting to sustaining the natural systems, the solution, if there is to be one, will involve incorporation of the value of natural capital into the economic and political feedback loop. For the science sector, this will involve developing methodologies to evaluate the nonlinear and behavioral dynamics of entire systems in ways that can be coupled with economic models. One essential characteristic of systems science involves the interactions between internal components and external systems. Thermohaline circulations and their feedback loops illustrate a class of such interactive pathways. Examples from the Arctic, Mediterranean, and the US East Coast along with some of their associated ecological impacts are reviewed. Understanding how thermohaline interactions provide stability to the marine biotic environment and under what conditions this stability could be destabilized is a fundamental step toward evaluating the non-linear response of marine systems to anthropogenic stress.

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