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The Atlantic Ocean current is weakening and is on the verge of collapse, raising fears that huge parts of the North Atlantic and surrounding areas could soon become exposed to unbearably cold temperatures.
USA, Britain and Europe will experience sub-zero freezing temperatures if the current continues to weaken
A new study using a bias-corrected model points to the weakening of the Atlantic current, indicating that it is on the verge of shutting down due to global warming.
A future collapse could see wintertime temperatures plummet by an estimated 7 degrees Celsius or more.
In the 2004 disaster film “The Day After Tomorrow,” global warming leads to the failure of an enormous current in the Atlantic Ocean, triggering catastrophic natural disasters and establishing freezing conditions in North America and Europe over a matter of weeks.
Live Science reports:
That scenario might not be so far-fetched, researchers have found.
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a deep-sea system that circulates warm water and helps to regulate Earth’s climate, is far less stable than scientists once thought, according to a new study. Under climate-change pressures such as dramatic increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), the AMOC could even collapse entirely, resulting in a much colder Northern Hemisphere and a wetter tropical Atlantic region. [Doomsday: 9 Real Ways Earth Could End]
This particular scenario wouldn’t happen for hundreds of years — if it happens at all, the study authors wrote. However, computer models used to predict Earth’s climate future typically represent AMOC as relatively stable. An unstable AMOC, as described in the study, changes the equation and presents a future several centuries from now in which the current weakens and ultimately fails to recover from repeated disruption, with dire consequences for the global climate.
AMOC operates like a gigantic climate conveyer belt. In the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, cold, dense waters are carried southward, toward the equator. At the same time, closer to the surface, the current transports heat (in the form of warm, less dense water) from the tropics to the North, where it gets transferred into the atmosphere and warms the air. This heat exchange is what drives and maintains global climate patterns, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.