As a result of climate change, the mechanism that controls the currents in the Atlantic Ocean might fail within this century, which is something that will soon start to haunt us. According to a recent research that was published in the journal Nature Communications, such an event will result in extremely low temperatures in Europe and an increase in sea level along the eastern coast of the United States.
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Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen utilized data spanning over a century’s worth of ocean temperatures and statistical modeling to come to the conclusion that if greenhouse gas emissions go on at their current rate, the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) will cease to exist between the years 2025 and 2095.
While a cooling of Europe may seem less severe as the globe as a whole 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, explained Peter Ditlevsen of the Niels Bohr Institute.
Why is it necessary for there to be an AMOC?
The AMOC definitely comes up with a critical role in the transport of warmer water from the tropical regions via the Gulf Stream and into the North Atlantic Ocean. This process is responsible for both the delivery of cold water off the coast of North America and the warming of the coast of northern Europe. Understanding how AMOC works and its importance helps us to raise better awareness of such a matter.
In addition to bringing about an Ice Age in Europe, the collapse of this ice sheet might also dramatically reduce the amount of precipitation that falls in the western and central regions of the United States, the former of which is currently afflicted by a drought that only occurs once per thousand years.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations expected a weakening of AMOC but deemed an entire collapse in the 21st century “very unlikely” in its most recent report. The research predicts a deeper deterioration of AMOC than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does. The future is indeed bleak.