Gulf Stream stops: Europe and the US will face serious climate change - VIDEO PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 02 April 2015 18:00

We have grown accustomed to the warm winters and hot summers. But scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research warned that winter in Europe can become colder. Violation of the circulation of water in the oceans and the Gulf Stream slowdown could lead to difficult to calculate, but clearly negative consequences for the entire planet.

The journal Nature published a study of scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change Research, and their consequences, led by Professor Stefan Rahmstorf physics of the ocean. The main conclusion of this study is that the ocean circulation slows down and that one of the consequences of this may be slowing down the Gulf Stream. This in turn will lead to many disasters. Cold winters in Europe and a strong rise in the water level, which would threaten the large coastal cities on the east coast of the US, such as New York and Boston. According to their data, the Gulf Stream that brings a mild climate in northern Europe and favorable conditions for the residents of the southeastern United States, slowed down at the fastest pace in the last 1000 years.

Professor Stefan Rahmstorf: "It is evident at once that one particular area of ​​the North Atlantic cools the last hundred years, while the rest of the world heats up. Now we have found strong evidence that the global conveyor really weakened over the last hundred years, especially since 1970 ".

The data obtained by scientists confirm that the growth of global temperature due to climate change, areas that are warmed by the Gulf Stream, show a drop in temperature, especially in winter. The influx of warm water from the equator, which goes through the Gulf of Mexico, across the ocean, and then up the west side of the United Kingdom and Norway, contributes to the warm climate in Northern Europe. This makes winter conditions in much of northern Europe are much milder than they normally would be protecting these regions from the large amounts of snow and ice during the winter months.

Now, researchers have found that the water in the North Atlantic Ocean is colder than predicted by computer models earlier. According to their calculations in the period between 1900 and 1970 from Greenland in the Atlantic Ocean received 8,000 cubic kilometers of fresh water. In addition, the same source "gave" additionally 13,000 cubic kilometers between 1970 and 2000. This fresh water is less dense than salty ocean and tends to float on the surface, disrupting the balance of the huge flow.

In the 90 years of circulation began to recover, but recovery proved temporary. Now there is a new weakening, perhaps due to the rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

Currently circulation by 15-20% weaker than a decade or two ago. At first glance, it is not so much. On the other hand, the scientists, like in the world as there was at least 1100 years, with about 900 years. It is also worrying that the weakening circulation faster pace predicted by scientists.

Researchers believe that the advent of the Little Ice Age around 1300, was connected with the slowing of the Gulf Stream. In 1310's of Western Europe, according to the chronicles, experienced a real ecological disaster. After a traditionally warm summer in 1311 was followed by four gloomy and rainy summer of 1312-1315 years. Heavy rains and unusually severe winter led to the deaths of several crops and winterkill orchards in England, Scotland, northern France and Germany. In Scotland and Northern Germany stopped viticulture and wine production. Winter frosts slew even northern Italy. F. and J. Petrarca. Boccaccio was fixed that in the XIV century. snow often falls in Italy.

In 2009-10, US scientists have recorded a sudden rise in water level in the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of America 10 cm. Then the current weakening of the circulation was just beginning. In the event of a sharp weakening of the water level could rise by 1 meter. Moreover, it is only to increase due to the weakening of the circulation. To this should be added the meter and the rise of water, which is expected from global warming.

Scientists estimate that the warm Gulf Stream is so powerful that it carries more water than all the rivers of the world combined. In spite of all his power, it is only one, albeit major component of the global thermohaline process, ie, temperature-salty water circulation. Key components of it are found in the North Atlantic, where the Gulf Stream and flows. That's why he plays such an important role in shaping the global climate.

The Gulf Stream carries warm water north into colder waters. At the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, it goes in the North Atlantic Current, influence the weather in Europe. This flow moves farther north up until the cold water with a high salt content did not go to great depth because of its high density. Then, it moves at a great depth in the opposite direction to the south. Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Current play a decisive role in shaping the climate, because heat transfer water to the north, and the cold south to the tropics, ie constantly agitates the water between the ocean basins.

If the North Atlantic, for example, in the Greenland ice melts too much, there is a cold salt water desalination. Decreasing the salt content in the water reduces its density, and it rises to the surface.

This process is able to slow down and eventually stop even the thermohaline circulation. What can happen in such a case, tried to show the director Roland Emmerich in the science fiction film "The Day After Tomorrow" (2004). In his version, the world entered a new ice age, which provoked the disaster and led to chaos on a planetary scale.

Scientists calm: if this happens, it very soon. However, global warming actually slows circulation. One of the consequences, says Stefan Rahmstorf, maybe level rise of the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of the United States and much colder winters in Europe.



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