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The collapse of the ocean current threatens a global catastrophe

The collapse of the ocean current threatens a global catastrophe

According to a new study, the collapse of the AMOC would have catastrophic effects on the climate and humanity.

new Stady Accordingly, the large Atlantic current system is heading towards a tipping point that could be disastrous for both the global climate and humanity, he writes. Watchman. Rene M. Van WestenThe Utrecht University fellow and his colleagues say that after the tipping point, a collapse can come with shocking speed. However, they have not yet been able to pinpoint exactly when this event could occur.

Using computer models and historical data, researchers developed a warning indicator for the collapse of the North Atlantic Overturning Current (Amoc). Amoc is a vast system of ocean currents that is a major factor in regulating global climate.

They found that the AMUC is already heading toward an abrupt shift that has not occurred in more than 10,000 years, and that will have catastrophic consequences for large parts of the world.

The Amok includes the Gulf Stream and other strong currents. This system is an ocean conveyor belt that transports heat, carbon and nutrients from the tropics to the Arctic Circle, where it cools and sinks to the depths of the ocean. This ripple helps dissipate energy throughout the planet and mitigates the effects of human-caused global warming.

However, the system is being undermined by Greenland's glaciers and Arctic ice sheets melting faster than expected. These processes put large amounts of fresh water into the ocean and prevent the sinking of saltier, warmer waters from the south.

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AMOC shares have fallen 15 percent since 1950 and are at their weakest levels in more than a thousand years. So far, there is no consensus on when the collapse might occur. Some experts expect the disaster to occur between 2025 and 2095, but according to other researchers, Amok is unlikely to see rapid change in the 21st century.

The Van Westens looked for clear signs of salinity in the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean between Cape Town and Buenos Aires. Using computer models to simulate changes in global climate over the past two millennia, they found that slow mitigation could lead to a sudden collapse in less than a hundred years, with catastrophic consequences.

Disastrous effects

Experts also assessed some of the possible consequences of the collapse:

  • The level of the Atlantic Ocean will rise by one meter in some areas, submerging many coastal cities.
  • In the Amazon, wet and dry seasons will alternate, which could push already vulnerable rainforests beyond the tipping point.
  • Temperatures around the world will fluctuate unpredictably.
  • The southern hemisphere will be warmer.
  • Europe will cool significantly and see less precipitation. Although this may seem attractive compared to the current trend of global warming, the changes could occur ten times faster than they are now, making adaptation almost impossible.

According to Van Westen, the speed of transformation is surprising and the process will be devastating. He added that there is not yet enough data to determine whether this phenomenon will occur next year or next century, but once it does, the changes on the human time scale will be irreversible.

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