Calamos Supports Greece
GreekReporter.comGreek NewsEnvironmentMajor Atlantic Ocean Current on the Verge of Collapse

Major Atlantic Ocean Current on the Verge of Collapse

Atlantic Ocean Current Collapse
A new study confirms that a major Atlantic ocean current is on the verge of collapse. Credit: Jaumellecha / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

A recent study raised alarms about a crucial ocean current’s potential collapse. Now, fresh data confirms these concerns.

In an article for The Conversation, the authors of the latest study caution that changes in temperature, sea level, and rainfall will greatly impact society. They stress that climate change is happening fast and won’t stop anytime soon.

The new study reveals a frightening possibility. One important aspect highlighted by René van Westen and colleagues from Utrecht University is an early warning system.

This foresight could offer the world a chance to brace itself for the future challenges ahead, as reported by ScienceAlert.

“We were able to develop a physics-based and observable early warning signal involving the salinity transport at the southern boundary of the Atlantic Ocean,” van Westen and team explained.

AMOC has been slowing down since the mid-1900s

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is a massive system of ocean currents. It carries warm, salty water northward. As this water travels north, it cools down, becoming denser. Eventually, it sinks, pulling in water from other oceans to replace it at the surface, and the cycle begins again, moving southward.

Since the mid-1900s, the AMOC has been slowing down significantly. This slowdown is due to several factors. Melting glaciers and increased rainfall add more freshwater to the ocean.

This extra freshwater dilutes the saltiness of the water, making it less dense. As a result, the sinking process is disrupted, weakening the entire circulation system.

Through modeling ocean systems, van Westen and his team have devised a method to spot when the AMOC is nearing a critical point. They found that the slowdown in salinity decline at the southernmost edge of the Atlantic is a key indicator.

The authors said that once this threshold is reached, the tipping point is expected to occur within one to four decades.

Tipping point is a lot closer than previously thought

Direct monitoring of the AMOC has only been happening since 2004. This isn’t long enough to fully grasp how the current slowing trend will unfold. Therefore, scientists rely on indirect indicators like salinity levels to gain insights.

Van Westen and his team haven’t combined all factors to precisely predict when the AMOC might collapse. However, they believe this critical event is much closer than many current simulations indicate.

The latest modeling delves into the freshwater-induced tipping point without attempting to forecast its timing. However, the findings indicate that the AMOC is much more responsive to changes than previously thought in many climate models.

Stefan Rahmstorf, a climatologist from Potsdam University not involved in the study, commented on RealClimate, stating that the new research reaffirms previous worries about climate models overestimating the stability of the AMOC.

See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!

Related Posts