The Gulf Stream may disappear as early as 2025 (4 photos + 1 video)

Category: Nature, PEGI 0+
14 February 2024

According to experts, melting glaciers can stop the Gulf Stream, a current that brings heat to the Northern Hemisphere, in the next few years. Without this additional source of heat, North America and Europe are facing serious cooling.

In the 2004 film The Day After Tomorrow, humanity is plunged into a nightmarish storm heralding a new ice age.

An abrupt cessation of currents in the Atlantic Ocean is becoming increasingly likely. Computer modeling shows that a turning point will come in the near future.

The study authors from Utrecht University in the Netherlands do not know exactly when the collapse will occur, although previous research predicted it as early as 2025.

Stopping the AMOC may occur in the next few decades, and not in the next few centuries, as previously thought

“We are approaching a collapse, but we cannot pinpoint the exact moment,” said study lead author René van Westen, a climatologist and oceanographer at Utrecht University. “We are moving towards a tipping point. It all depends on the rate of climate change that we, as humans, are causing.” .

The Gulf Stream is part of a much larger system of currents called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). It is she who transports warm water at the surface of the ocean to the north - from the tropics to the northern hemisphere.

When warm waters reach Europe and the UK, as well as the east coast of the US, they lose heat and freeze. When ice forms, salt remains in ocean water. It becomes denser, sinks deeper and is carried south again.

Eventually, the water rises to the surface and heats up in a process called upwelling, completing the cycle.

The climate in Europe will cool by about 1°C per decade, and in some regions by 3°C

The AMOC brings enough heat to the northern hemisphere that without it, much of Europe would freeze.

The engine of this process is located off the coast of Greenland, where as ice melts caused by climate change, more fresh water is entering the North Atlantic, slowing movement.

The study was published in the journal Science Advances

Through computer modeling, researchers were able to calculate the weakening of ocean circulation.

According to the results, the climate in Europe will cool by about 1°C per decade, and in some regions by 3°C.

In addition to cooling in the Northern Hemisphere, the collapse will lead to even greater warming in the Southern Hemisphere, changes in global precipitation patterns and the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. This could lead to food and water shortages throughout the world.

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