Sibling Scientists Predict Atlantic Ocean Current System Collapse
According to a multidisciplinary team of scientists, if greenhouse gas emissions continue, some Atlantic Ocean currents will stop around 2060.
In a new study, the University of Copenhagen researchers Peter Ditlevsen and his sister Susanne predict that ocean currents that distribute cold and heat between the North Atlantic region and the tropics will stop if we continue to emit greenhouse gases at current levels.
Using advanced statistical tools and ocean temperature data from the last 150 years, the siblings calculated that the ocean current, known as the Thermohaline Circulation or the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), will collapse – with 95 percent certainty – between 2025 and 2095. In 34 years, in 2057, this might cause serious problems, including tropical warming and North Atlantic storminess.
Peter Ditlevsen says:
“Shutting down the AMOC can have dire consequences for Earth’s climate, for example, by changing how heat and precipitation are distributed globally. While a cooling of Europe may seem less severe as the globe becomes warmer and heat waves occur more frequently, this shutdown will contribute to increased warming of the tropics, where rising temperatures have already given rise to challenging living conditions.
“Our result underscores the importance of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.”
Their calculations, which were just published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, go against what the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says. Based on simulations of the climate, that report says that a sudden change in the thermohaline circulation is unlikely to happen in this century.
Here is the full report from the Ditlevens.
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