Researchers believe that the Atlantic currents are in a critical state

According to current research, ocean currents in the Atlantic Ocean may have lost so much stability that this system could collapse.

The basics in brief

  • The Atlantic ecological current is as weak as it has not been in the last thousand years.
  • Researchers warn of the repercussions of this on the global weather system.

Who is this study in the journal Nature Climate Change, published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) on Thursday. A warning is given Consequences of weather systems all over the world.

in a study It orbits around the Atlantic Meridian Inversion Rotation (AMOC), which also includes the Gulf Stream. AMOC transports warm water masses from the tropics to the sea surface to the north and cold water Water on the sea floor to the south, which is of great importance for the relatively mild temperatures in Europe,” explained PIK.

The author of the book “AMOC” explained one of the most important circulation systems on our planet studyNiklas Bowers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the Free University of Berlin and the University of Exeter. He noted that in Earth’s history, the AMOC had already assumed a much weaker alternative state in addition to the current strong state. In principle, sudden transitions between these two states are also possible.

“Vulnerable not seen in the last thousand years”

Currently the flow system is study It is weaker than at any time in the last thousand years. According to Boyers, it is not yet clear whether this is only related to a change in the average trading condition or an actual loss of dynamic stability. “The difference is crucial,” Boyer stressed, because reduced dynamic stability means that “a transition to the hemodynamic poor mode may be irreversible in practice.”

According to Boyers, various evidence suggests that weakness “may mean approaching a critical threshold beyond which the circulation system can collapse”.

Changes due to man-made climate change

Tagged in study On the additional factors that would add to the direct effects of the warming of the Atlantic Ocean on its circulation. This includes the flow of fresh water through the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, through melting sea ice, through increased precipitation and through Water from the rivers. Fresh water reduces the tendency of the waters in the North Atlantic to sink from the surface to greater depths, which is one of the drivers of the disturbances.

“I did not expect that the additional amounts of fresh water that have flowed into the ocean over the past century would actually provoke such a response by the AMOC,” Bowers said. Therefore, current models “urgently need to align with the available observations”, “in order to assess how much the AMOC in fact remains above the critical threshold”. Even if the significance of each of the various factors had to be examined further, they would in any case be “on a par with that of human-caused Climate change in contact”.

More on this topic:

Studying the waters of climate change


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