What Is The Amoc Current And Why Is It So Worried By Experts?

The fact that the climate of our planet is undergoing profound changes is unfortunately well known. With a much higher frequency than in the past, we are witnessing phenomena that it would be simplistic to define as extreme. And we’re not just talking about warming temperatures, melting ice, or changes in temperature and seasons with abnormal characteristics.

What worries researchers, according to a recent article published in the journal Nature, is the trend of the current called Amoc, a system of ocean currents that helps regulate heat in the northern hemisphere and, in part, also in the northern hemisphere. from South. What is happening to this important climatic factor? Simple, and at the same time worrying: it is weakening like never before, creating imbalances that could worsen an already compromised situation.

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image credit: R. Curry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Science/USGCRP / Wikimedia

The Amoc current ( Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation ) is, according to Nature, one of the most important factors regulating climate and heat on Earth. It is not difficult to understand that, if this one changes and weakens, everything can change, and the Planet could experience phenomena that it has never known until now.

The Amoc is characterized by two water flows , one superficial, warmer and directed towards the north, and the other colder and directed towards the south. This system of currents, which also includes the famous Gulf Stream , is able, thanks to its enormous flow, to condition the climate of many regions, especially temperatures and winds. This is why, if it were to weaken completely or reverse its trend, we would witness phenomena of climatic imbalance never known in certain latitudes.

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image credit: Pxhere – Not the actual photo

Thanks to the Amoc, for example, the western part of Europe manages to be milder in winter than the corresponding latitudes in America. Today, the alarm raised by a team of German, Irish and British researchers concerns its extreme weakness.

Analysis of past data has shown that after a period of relative stability, Amoc began to lose strength since the 19th century . This loss was followed by another, much faster and more marked, which began in the middle of the 20th century . That is, since human activities began to become more and more pressing and damaging to the earth’s environment. From 2000, the situation in Amoc worsened further.

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image credit: Sharada Prasad CS/Wikimedia – Not the actual photo

In all this, phenomena already known as melting ice do not help, because they cause large amounts of freshwater to end up in the sea, interfering with the mechanisms of the currents that regulate temperatures. Greenland and the Canadian territories are dumping unsalted water into the Atlantic Ocean at an unprecedentedly rapid rate, and the data speaks of a situation of no return.

In summer, we will therefore be more and more hot , while in winter, the climate will be more and more rigid. 

Source used:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-0786-0
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-21470-3
Nature Geoscience

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