The great ocean current that regulates climate

The great ocean current that regulates climate

The great ocean current that regulates climateEuropean press

The planet is in danger. Scientists have been warning for years about what they call a great ocean current The southern turn of Polcada de Atlantique (AMOC, its abbreviation in English), is slowing down. It is a crucial system that transports heat and salt across the oceans and It decisively modifies the global climate. Reasons for the slowdown? Global warming and the influx of fresh water into the North Atlantic Ocean as a result of melting polar ice.

The Great Ocean Current or thermohaline current, which redistributes heat, cold and rain between the tropics and the North Atlantic Ocean, They slow down so quickly that they can stop suddenlywith Disastrous consequences For the future of the Earth, and therefore for living organisms, including humans.

Its collapse would change the climate around the worldRather, it will lead to contradictory results, and thus with the continued rise in temperatures, if the Atlantic current collapses, Europe will freeze. This is indicated by the results of research conducted by scientists from Utrecht University (Netherlands) which has just been published in the journal Sciences.

The weakest country in 1.00 years

The study confirms previous research, which has already warned that the great ocean current has slowed significantly since the beginning of the century. So it has probably reached its weakest point in the last thousand years It is approaching a dangerous turning point.

Effects of the collapse of the Atlantic Ocean Current (AMOC)

The AMOC transports warm water from the tropics to northern Europe. If it stops, the northern hemisphere will experience a sudden cooling Temperatures drop by up to 15 degrees Celsius in EuropeWith temperatures falling by more than three degrees per decade. All of this would cause Arctic ice to spread southward, according to some simulations.

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The disappearance of the Amazon

In the Southern Hemisphere, exactly the opposite will happen: Rising temperatures, which would cause drastic changes in global rainfall patterns and could even lead to the disappearance of the world's largest tropical forest, the Amazon.

The worst thing is that There does not appear to be a solution in sight“There is no realistic adaptation measure that can handle temperature changes as rapid as those resulting from AMOC collapse,” the study authors warn.

The great ocean current acts like a conveyor belt that regulates the Earth's climate. It's a giant thermostat that rotates counterclockwise and its motor is located off the coast of Greenland. The problem is that this is where more and more fresh water is flowing in, and as the ice melts due to climate change, the current slows down.

In the current system, cooler, deeper, sweeter water flows south through the Americas and then east along the coast of Africa. Meanwhile, saltier, warmer ocean waters from the Pacific and Indian oceans move north, past the southern tip of Africa, head toward and around Florida, and continue up the east coast of the United States to Greenland, where they sink as they cool. Under…and it starts again. It is the natural cycle that ensures the planet's climate health.

Will the Gulf Stream stop?

Collapse in 33 years?

This system of currents shows, for example, that the climates of Madrid and New York are quite different, even though they lie at the same latitude. Europe enjoys much milder winters than the United States. In short, it is a stable system that ensures the climate as we have known it for thousands of years. But now all of that is in danger and the consequences could be dire.

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When will the AMOC collapse happen? The authors of the latest study point out that current calculation techniques and uncertainties about the future of climate change make accurate estimation difficult.

“We are getting close to it [al col·lapse], but we are not sure of the amount. “It is the million dollar question, which unfortunately we cannot answer now,” comments the study’s lead author, Rene van Westen. But he is certain of one thing: “We are heading towards a turning point.” He adds that the moment of collapse will depend “on the rate of climate change caused by humanity.”

Other researchers have provided precise estimates. Therefore, in light of the assessments made in 2021 before Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has indicated that a complete collapse is unlikely this century, many studies agree that if the current scenario of greenhouse gas emissions continues, the system could collapse much sooner.

Using advanced statistical tools and ocean temperature data over the past 150 years, Danish researchers calculated a year ago that the thermohaline circulation would collapse with 95% certainty between 2025 and 2095. According to their calculations, it is likely to collapse in 33 years, in 2057.

definitely, There is a stagnation that is already impossible to stop, caused by human-induced change in the global climate, the effects of which will continue to be noticeable (and increase) without stopping over the coming years. However, rapid progress towards halting emissions could save the planet a lot of trouble and partially alleviate the struggle for survival in the medium-term future.

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Towards a planet of extremes

The collapse of the Atlantic Current would lead to even more catastrophic consequences. For example, sea levels rising on the coast of the North Atlantic Ocean, which would threaten to destroy cities where hundreds of millions of people live; changes in rainfall and drought patterns around the world; Larger and more frequent heat waves and other extreme events; Widespread water and food shortages, and a brutal economic impact. In short, the increasing severity of threats that themselves cause global warming demonstrates how the impacts of climate change feed on each other.

Most researchers base their conclusions on observations of early warning signals, which show ocean currents when they become unstable. It can be said that these signals are a kind of fingerprint that attests to the strength of the AMOC, the behavior of which has only been measured directly in the past fifteen years.

Scientists in the Netherlands have developed an “observable, physics-based early warning signal” of AMOC collapse: If freshwater transport at the South Atlantic boundary declines significantly, the AMOC will be about to reach a tipping point.

The study's authors are sounding the alarm and calling on the world to pay attention to the potential collapse of the AMOC, even as they point to a larger, closely related priority: immediate action to limit global warming.

Their conclusion is clear: they see the need for urgent, profound and ambitious action to stop the emission of greenhouse gases across the planet. It is the only way to mitigate the effects of a problem about which not everything is known yet. Stop emissions, otherwise there is no future.

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