Scientists have reported that human-caused climate changes have caused a disruption in large systems of ocean currents in Atlantic, including the Gulf Stream. It could lead to drastic changes in weather patterns worldwide if the system is destroyed.
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (or AMOC) transports warm, salty waters from the tropics northward to the ocean surface, and cold water southward to the ocean bottom.
“The Atlantic Meridional Overturning really is one of our planet’s key circulation systems,” said the author of the study, Niklas Boers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.
Findings from a similar 2018 study drew comparisons to the scientifically inaccurate 2004 disaster movie “The Day After Tomorrow,” which used such an ocean current shutdown as the premise of the film. The study authors stated that a collapse would occur within the next decade, but it was unlikely to happen.
According to the study, a possible collapse of the ocean current system could have devastating consequences all over the world.
This circulation could shut down and bring severe cold to Europe and North America. It could also raise sea levels along America’s East Coast, and disrupt the seasonal monsoons, which provide water for much of the globe.
According to Guardian, it would also put at risk the Amazon rainforest and Antarctic Ice Sheets.
The Post reported that researchers who have studied ancient climate change also found evidence that the AMOC could abruptly shut down, causing dramatic temperature swings and shifts in global weather systems.
The peer-reviewed British journal Nature Climate Change published the study on Thursday.
Climate models have shown that the AMOC is at its weakest in more than 1,000 years. It is not known if the weakening is caused by a change of circulation or loss of stability.
Boers stated that “the difference is crucial” because it would indicate that the AMOC has reached its critical threshold. Beyond which, a significant and likely irreversible transition into the weak mode could occur.”