It seems that the Atlantic Ocean, the second largest one on Earth, is slowing down. More precisely, it’s water current is slowing down, according to a recently-published study in the journal Nature. The current in the Atlantic is actually the exchange of warmer water from the north and cold water from the south. This exchange regulates the flux of heat and the global climate. This is the reason why experts call it the conveyor belt of the ocean. However, thanks to this recent study, it seems that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is slowing down.
Actually, it’s worth noting that now it is at its lowest in 1,000 years. Jon Robson, one of the study’s authors, says that the last 100 years were the lowest in terms of speed in comparison with the last few thousands of years. According to Robson, the formation of dense water might be one of the causes of this phenomenon. However, this might not be the answer because the fresh water from the melting ice is not actually too dense. This makes overturning a problem. When it elongates, fresh water can shut down the AMOC completely.
Atlantic Ocean current, the slowest in 1,000 years
This got scientists worried because is the exact same scenarios as that of the movie The Day After Tomorrow, from 2004. Still, if that were to indeed happen, it would not be as catastrophic as in the movie. Actually, Robson says that such an event took place during the last ice age. This means that it can happen in the future too.
In order to reach their results, the team of experts analyzed the ocean floor sediments and how they are shifted by the AMOC. In a separate study, another team used some computer models and found out that the AMOC has slowed down by 15% over the past century. Now, the team is searching for the moment when the AMOC will slow down quickly and possibly cause catastrophic events, like another ice age.
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