IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis Consistency with the Large-Scale Ocean Circulation

The observed changes are broadly consistent with scientific understanding of the circulation of the global oceans. The North Atlantic and antarctic regions, where the oceans ventilate the deep waters over short time scales (<50 years), show strong evidence of change over the instrumental record. For example, the North Atlantic shows evidence of a deep warming and freshening. There is evidence of change in the Southern Ocean bottom waters consistent with the sinking of fresher antarctic shelf waters. Deep waters that are far from the North Atlantic and Antarctic, remote from interaction with the atmosphere, and with replenishment rates that are long compared with the instrumental record, typically show no significant changes. Mode waters, key global water masses found in every ocean basin equatorward of major oceanic frontal systems or separated boundary currents, have a relatively rapid formation and ventilation rate (<20 years) and provide a pathway for heat (and salinity) to be transported into the main subtropical gyres of the global oceans as observed.