Environment

Trouble In North Atlantic

The blue region in the North Atlantic has been the coldest on record, while everywhere else has been the hottest on record.
The blue region in the North Atlantic has been the coldest on record, while everywhere else has been the hottest on record.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported in mid-September, that, so far, this year has been the warmest on record, globally, and all indications are that 2015 could be the hottest year in meteorological history.

But one pocket has bucked that trend. The waters of the North Atlantic, between Newfoundland and Ireland, have been the coldest on record.

This suggests that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation or A.M.O.C.—a major current in the Atlantic Ocean, which warms cities in continental Europe and North America—is slowing down to a level not seen in the last 1,000 years, around the time polyphonic music was coming into being.

Usually, cold, dense, salty water in the North Atlantic, sinks, and flows southward. Warmer water, which is less dense, flows northward from the tropics to take its place. But an avalanche of cold freshwater, caused by the silent, but steady, melting of the Greenland ice sheet, is throwing this cycle out of gear.

Interestingly, the film, “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004), is based on such a climate change scenario. The marine conveyor belt shuts down. The mercury plummets. A series of massive blizzards begin in America and Europe. A tsunami engulfs Manhattan. Tornadoes spin over Los Angeles. Enormous hailstones pelt Tokyo.

When the disturbance is over, the entire northern hemisphere is blanketed under ice, and is doomed to a new ice age due to the albedo effect—that is, the snow reflects so much sunlight that the climate stays cold.

In reality, the consequences of a slowdown would look nothing like this, though, they’ll still be grave.

h/t:  WP and REAL CLIMATE

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