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RISKS OF ATLANTIC OCEAN CIRCULATION COLLAPSE



  Jun 04, 2024

RISKS OF ATLANTIC OCEAN CIRCULATION COLLAPSE



1. What is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)?
The AMOC is a crucial ocean current system that circulates warm water from the tropics northward, cools and sinks, and then flows back south at depth, distributing heat and nutrients globally.

2. Why is there concern about the AMOC shutting down?
The concern stems from recent studies suggesting that significant ice melt from Greenland could disrupt the AMOC, leading to severe climate consequences.

3. What are Heinrich events?
Heinrich events are periods in history when large numbers of icebergs were released into the Atlantic, significantly lowering the ocean’s salinity and weakening the AMOC.

4. How does ice melt affect the AMOC?
Ice melt releases fresh water into the Atlantic, reducing its salinity. If this fresh water prevents the denser, saltier water from sinking, it can disrupt the circulation of the AMOC.

5. Is the current rate of Greenland’s ice melt enough to shut down the AMOC?
While Greenland is losing a significant amount of ice, it is unlikely to continue at a rate sufficient to shut down the AMOC in the coming decades.

6. What is the projected change in the AMOC’s strength by 2100?
The AMOC’s strength is projected to decline by 24% to 39% by 2100.

7. Are we likely to see a sudden climate shift similar to what is depicted in movies?
Based on current research, such a sudden and dramatic shift is unlikely in our lifetimes. However, the AMOC remains at risk, and efforts to combat climate change are essential.

8. What steps can be taken to mitigate the risks to the AMOC?
Addressing climate change through reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting ice sheets are crucial steps to mitigate the risks to the AMOC.



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