Atlantic circulation will not stop, but will cause ocean warming • Earth.com

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Scientists have demonstrated that a large circulation sample within the Atlantic Ocean has slowed dramatically over the previous decade, and there was concern amongst oceanographers concerning the long-term stability of this technique.

A brand new examine led by the University of Washington (UW) has discovered that this transition is not a results of local weather change, but is a part of a daily cycle that will have an effect on temperatures within the coming many years.

Study co-author Ka-Kit Tung is a UW professor of Applied Mathematics.

“Climate scientists have expected the Atlantic overturning circulation to decline long-term under global warming, but we only have direct measurements of its strength since April 2004. And the decline measured since then is 10 times larger than expected,” stated Professor Tung.

“Many have focused on the fact that it’s declining very rapidly, and that if the trend continues it will go past a tipping point, bringing a catastrophe such as an ice age. It turns out that none of that is going to happen in the near future. The fast response may instead be part of a natural cycle and there are signs that the decline is already ending.”

The velocity of the present determines how a lot floor warmth is transferred deep into the ocean, and quicker circulation implies that extra warmth will be despatched beneath. On the opposite hand, if the present slows, much less warmth will be saved and air temperatures will rise at a quicker fee.

“The global climate models can project what’s going to happen long-term if carbon dioxide increases by a certain amount, but they currently lack the capability to predict surface warming in the next few decades, which requires a knowledge of how much the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gases is being absorbed by the oceans,” defined Professor Tung.

The new examine argues that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is not collapsing, but is just transitioning from its quick section to its slower section, which has implications for heating on the ocean’s floor.

“We have about one cycle of observations at depth, so we do not know if it’s periodic, but based on the surface phenomena we think it’s very likely that it’s periodic.”

According to Professor Tung, current measurements of density within the Labrador Sea recommend the cycle is starting to shift. This implies that the AMOC will not proceed to switch atmospheric warmth into the North Atlantic within the years to come back.

“The good news is the indicators show that this slowdown of the Atlantic overturning circulation is ending, and so we shouldn’t be alarmed that this current will collapse any time soon,” stated Professor Tung. “The bad news is that surface temperatures are likely to start rising more quickly in the coming decades.”

The analysis is revealed within the journal Nature.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer



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