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The Global warming slows Atlantic Ocean currents down to a 1000-year low.
An Atlantic Ocean current that helps regulate the global climate has reached a 1,000-year low, according to two new studies in the journal Nature.
While scientists disagree about what’s behind the sluggish ocean current, the shift could mean bad news for the climate. The Atlantic Meridional overturning circulation which is often called the conveyor belt of the ocean that exchanges warm water from equator with cold water in the Arctic.
The last 100 years has its lowest point for the last few thousand years, Jon Robson, a researcher at the University of Reading and one of the study’s authors, tells The Washington Post. These two new papers do point forcefully to the fact that the overturning has probably weakened over the last 150 years.
The Atlantic Meridional overturning circulation plays a vital role in the distribution of heat across the Earth, but is disrupting through melting ice, mainly from Greenland, causing larger volumes of the freshwater to flow through the oceans, says David Thornalley, the geologist at the University College London and the lead author of one new studies.
A crucial part of the overturning circulation, this The Atlantic Meridional overturning circulation is the formation of dense water, he tells Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins. The problem is that freshwater is not very thick and it stops you forming those dense waters.
Meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet is lighter and floats on the surface, disrupting the ocean’s circulation, recent research showing.
Some scientists concerned the influx of freshwater could causing the current to shut down altogether. It was the premise of the year 2004 film, The Day After Tomorrow, but Thornalley says the effect of the slowdown likely won’t be as catastrophic as depicted in the movie.
Scientists are worried about The Atlantic Meridional overturning circulation shutting down because evidence from the past suggests that it did happening during last ice age, and it is possible that it can happen in the future, although at the moment we considering very unlikely, he says.
The challenge for scientists is to monitoring when the AMOC may reach a tipping point when the system cannot recover quickly.
We don’t know we close to one of those tipping points where runaway processes can suddenly allow the mark to weaken much quicker than it has been doing. Thornally says.
As the system weakens, scientists are observing a kind of surprising response to global warming, where you can get regional cooling in parts of the globe, climate scientist Max Holmes tells NPR in the year 2006.
The study led by Thornalley, researchers, collected ocean sediment and measured the size of the grains to determine the strength of the current has changed. Larger grains mean a faster-flowing flow.
It can think about a mountain stream and how that stuff is often associating with boulders and rocks because there is a lot of energy to move those boulders; whereas if you think about sort of the sluggish Mississippi, that is a muddy-bottomed river. He says.
The other study examined the pattern of ocean temperatures, which researchers are concluding has contributed to pockets of record warm and record cold right next to one another.
While there is an ongoing dispute about what is causing the slowdown, scientists agree that it could have a dramatic impact on ocean ecosystems, such as coral reefs and deep-sea sponge grounds.
These delicate ecosystems rely on ocean currents to supply their food and disperse their offspring, Prof Murray Roberts, who co-ordinates the Atlas project at the University of Edinburgh, tells BBC News.
“Ocean currents are like highways spreading larvae throughout the ocean, and we know these ecosystems have been susceptible to past changes in the Earth’s climate.”
Much like other issues concerning climate change, Thorn alley say preventing the AMOC slowdown depends on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“The only thing we do is obviously try and to prevent the global warming because that’s the cause of why we think it is weakening now with increasing temperatures,” he says.
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