Extreme Climate Impacts Feared From Collapse of a Key Atlantic Ocean Current

"Disruption of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current could freeze Europe, scorch the tropics and increase sea level rise in the North Atlantic. The tipping point may be closer than predicted in the IPCC’s latest assessment."

"A new study affirms that a critical system of Atlantic Ocean currents that shunt warm and cold water between the poles is “on course” to a tipping point. If the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation fails because of increasing freshwater inflows from melting ice sheets and rivers swelled by global warming, the authors said it would disrupt the climate globally, shifting Asian monsoon rainfall patterns and even reversing the rainy and dry seasons in the Amazon.

“It’s a global shift,” said Utrecht University climate and physics researcher René van Westen, co-author of the research published today in Science Advances. Along with changes in rain distribution, an AMOC collapse could also make some other related ocean currents in the Atlantic, like the Gulf Stream, “partly vanish,” he said.

“This leads to a lot of dynamic sea level rise, up to a meter in the North Atlantic under an AMOC collapse,” he said. “And you need to add that on top of the sea level rise already caused by global warming. So the problems are really severe.”"

Bob Berwyn reports for Inside Climate News February 9, 2024.


"Ocean System That Moves Heat Gets Closer To Collapse, Which Could Cause Weather Chaos, Study Says" (AP)

Source: Inside Climate News, 02/12/2024