January 24, 2022

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Scientists see signs of Gulf Stream decline

A study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, published in a prestigious scientific journal, shows signs that the current Gulf Stream, which regulates global climate, is losing stability. This will have a major impact on the climate in Europe and around the world.

Gulf Stream crosses Florida before heading to Iceland © AFP / HO / NOAA

A major change in the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic currents is what some scientists call a landmark. If it gets stuck, layered effects are expected. Not only on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, but also the oceans where these currents operate: it can have an impact on other important points of the planet such as the Amazon rainforest or monsoon. However, a team of scientists noticed it We are very close to this threshold Than we thought.

The Gulf Stream owns a large number of currents, nicknamed the AMOC for the Atlantic meridian overturning cycle. This set Carries warm water circulating from the tropics to the surface of the North Atlantic Ocean. At the same time, the cold water flows deeper in the other direction. This phenomenon helps to distribute the heat received from the sun and allows Europe to experience milder winters compared to North America, but with similar latitudes.

Numerous studies show that Atlantic currents are changing

Previous study, Published in Magazine Natural Earth Science, Proved to be in circulation by the end of February 2021 The Gulf Stream was at its lowest level in 1,000 years. This current has been declining since the middle of the 20th century, especially since 2005. According to the team of researchers, the reason is clear: global warming.

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So far, scientists do not yet understand what this recession is. The findings of the Nicholas Boers-led team are not good: “The results support the hypothesis that the decline of AMOC is not a linear response to fluctuations or rising temperatures, but rather that we are approaching an important threshold, after which the system water cycle will collapse.In other words The end of this climate regulatory system, In the system we know of in any case.

The melting of ice in the Arctic is one reason for this recession. This melting adds fresh water to the oceans. Freshwater is lighter than salt water, and it has a lower tendency to sink, so it joins the cold currents that circulate the water towards the tropics. Surprised by these results, Nicholas Boers calls Review “urgent” models Measure the location of this tipping point more accurately.