Global Ocean Circulation Appears To Be Collapsing Due To A Warming Planet

Global Ocean Circulation Appears To Be Collapsing Due To A Warming Planet

SOURCE: Forbes DATE: Aug 3, 2017 SNIP: A recent study published in Nature outlines research by a team of Yale University and University of Southhampton scientists. The team found evidence that Arctic ice loss is potentially negatively impacting the planet’s largest ocean circulation system. While scientists do have some analogs as to how this may impact the world, we will be largely in uncharted territory. AMOC is one of the largest current systems in the Atlantic Ocean and the world. Evidence is growing that the comparatively cold zone within the Northern Atlantic could be due to a slowdown of this global ocean water circulation. Hence, a slowdown in the planet’s ability to transfer heat from the tropics to the northern latitudes. The cold zone could be due to melting of ice in the Arctic and Greenland. This would cause a cold fresh water cap over the North Atlantic, inhibiting sinking of salty tropical waters. This would in effect slow down the global circulation and hinder the transport of warm tropical waters...
Loss of Arctic sea ice impacting Atlantic Ocean water circulation system

Loss of Arctic sea ice impacting Atlantic Ocean water circulation system

SOURCE: Yale News DATE: July 31, 2017 SNIP: Arctic sea ice is not merely a passive responder to the climate changes occurring around the world, according to new research. Scientists at Yale University and the University of Southampton say the ongoing Arctic ice loss can play an active role in altering one of the planet’s largest water circulation systems: the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). AMOC has a lower limb of dense, cold water that flows south from the north Atlantic, and an upper limb of warm, salty water that flows north from the south Atlantic as part of the Gulf Stream. AMOC plays a major role in regional and global climate, affecting the Atlantic rim countries — particularly those in Europe — and far beyond. Earlier this year, a different Yale-led study cautioned that the AMOC system was not as stable as previously thought. That study said the possibility of a collapsed AMOC under global warming conditions is being significantly underestimated. “We’ve now found this new connection between sea ice and AMOC,” Liu [Wei Liu, a Yale postdoctoral associate] said. “Sea ice loss is clearly important among the mechanisms that could potentially contribute to AMOC collapse.” “In our experiments we saw a potential loss of 30% to 50% of AMOC’s strength due to Arctic sea ice loss. That is a significant amount, and it would accelerate the collapse of AMOC if it were to occur,” Fedorov [Alexey Fedorov, climate scientist at the Yale Department of Geology and Geophysics]...
Drastic cooling in North Atlantic beyond worst fears, scientists warn

Drastic cooling in North Atlantic beyond worst fears, scientists warn

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: February 24, 2017 SNIP: For thousands of years, parts of northwest Europe have enjoyed a climate about 5C warmer than many other regions on the same latitude. But new scientific analysis suggests that that could change much sooner and much faster than thought possible. Climatologists who have looked again at the possibility of major climate change in and around the Atlantic Ocean, a persistent puzzle to researchers, now say there is an almost 50% chance that a key area of the North Atlantic could cool suddenly and rapidly, within the space of a decade, before the end of this...
Potential for Collapse of Key Atlantic Current Rises

Potential for Collapse of Key Atlantic Current Rises

SOURCE: Climate Central DATE: January 5, 2017 SNIP: The large, looping Atlantic Ocean current that keeps northwestern Europe fairly warm and influences sea levels along the U.S. coast is a key component of the Earth’s climate system. But because of global warming, it may be more likely to substantially slow down — or even collapse — than previously thought, according to two new studies. If that current, called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, were to slow down substantially, it could lead to chillier weather in northern and western Europe, starve economically important fisheries and cause waters to rise along the U.S. coast, leading to more so-called “sunny day” flooding and storm surge when hurricanes come ashore. It could also shift tropical rain belts, causing major disruptions to regional climate in Central and South...

SOURCE: Stefan Rahmstorf and Earth 101 DATE: July 1, 2016 SNIP: We know from Earth’s history that this ocean circulation system in the North Atlantic has been quite unstable. There have been abrupt changes leading to abrupt climate changes in the North Atlantic region leading to affect the region and the whole world. Will global warming that human activities are causing now affect that circulation system once again? … The models predicted [a slowdown in the circulation system] but we find that the cooling that we actually observe in the North Atlantic is somewhat larger than the models have predicted, so we can say the climate models have been predicting the right thing, but they have been under-predicting it, the real changes are occurring faster than what we have...