The intensity of the Gulf Stream is decreasing due to rising global temperatures.the complete disruption of which would have catastrophic consequences on the climate of our planet, The latest research results, published in Nature Communications, suggest that this could happen within this century, although there is no consensus within the scientific community about this prediction. One thing is certain: reducing CO2 emissions is necessary and urgent to try to reverse this trend of rising global temperatures.
Ocean Currents: Definition and Characteristics
Ocean currents are moving bodies of water that flow through the oceans. They can cover vast distances and travel at varying speeds. Their formation is influenced by various factors, such as winds, temperature, salinity and the shape of the ocean floor. Currents can be shallow or deep, and their direction and strength can change seasonally.
formation of ocean currents
ocean currents They are formed mainly due to difference in temperature and salinity of sea water and prevailing winds., Winds blow on the surface of the ocean, pushing the water and creating currents that can travel long distances. Furthermore, warm water is less dense than cold water and salt water is less dense than fresh water. These density differences cause vertical and horizontal movements that contribute to the formation of currents.
Gulf Stream: A Major Ocean Highway
The Gulf Stream is a well-known ocean current that flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It originates in the Caribbean, where warm water is pushed north by wind and temperature differences. This current runs along the east coast of the United States and moves northeast, crossing the North Atlantic and reaching the shores of Europe.
gulf stream effect on climate
Gulf Stream It plays an important role in regulating the climate for both North America and Europe., As it carries warm water from the tropics to more northern regions, it has a warming effect on the Atlantic coasts of the United States and Western Europe. This slight “thermoregulatory effect” helps to maintain mild temperatures on the coasts, especially during winter.
effect on rainfall
The Gulf Stream also affects the amount of rainfall that occurs in coastal areas. Because warm water evaporates faster than cold water, the current increases the humidity of the air above it. This could lead to an increase in rainfall over coastal lands, affecting local climate and supporting biodiversity.
Climate change and the fate of the Gulf Stream
Climate change affects the Gulf Stream phenomenon in two closely related ways. First, CO2 emissions increase the temperature of both air and ocean, reducing the ability of currents to sink deeper due to a decrease in the density of warm water. In addition, due to rising global temperatures, Greenland’s glaciers are melting, leading to a significant influx of fresh water into the ocean, further reducing the salt concentration and hence the density of water.
basically, The water available to drown is slowly decreasing, a phenomenon that directly affects the Gulf Stream. There is now much evidence of a weakening of its intensity over the years. The important question is how much time is left for the current to stop completely.
fate of the gulf stream
The latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report has concluded that the Gulf Stream is unlikely to collapse completely by the end of this century, despite clear signs of a slowdown. However, two researchers have published a new paper in which they argue that the current could close completely between 2025 and 2095, with a maximum probability around 2057.
The researchers used statistical calculations and data on ocean temperatures recorded over the past 150 years to reach this conclusion. They found that the stream is already slowing down and that the slowdown is due to global warming., If global warming continues at its current rate, the present may stop entirely.
Other experts argue that some of the assumptions included in the model used by the researchers are too simplistic and that further tests are needed to confirm their findings. However, the study’s first author, Peter Ditlevson, said his findings underscore The importance of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible,
But the study’s findings are worrying It is important to remember that this is a forecast and it is not yet certain when or if the Gulf Stream will stop completely., However, it is clear that global warming is already having a negative impact on electricity and steps need to be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.