Things could soon be getting a lot colder. Image Credit: sxc.hu
Scientists believe that a slowdown in ocean currents could bring about colder and more extreme weather.
It might not be as bad as in the movie 'The Day After Tomorrow', but without the Gulf Stream to carry warm water up towards the United Kingdom and Europe, things will definitely get a lot colder.
Recent research has indicated that global warming has taken its toll on the AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation) - the system of ocean currents of which the Gulf Stream is a part.
The Gulf Stream itself was relatively stable until around the 1850s when it started to decline and now it is the weakest it has been at any point over the last 1,000 years.
According to an international group of scientists from Ireland, Germany and the UK, this could bring about "more extreme and intense winter weather events in Europe" as well as major flooding along the east coast of the United States.
If it were to disappear entirely, temperatures in the region would permanently plummet by 5C.
"A major mechanism for heat redistribution and crucial to the world's climate, an abrupt slowdown of the AMOC could trigger disruptions around the globe - including a sudden rise in regional sea levels, changes in the position of major rainfall and arid climate zones," the researchers wrote.
With the way things are going, the Gulf Stream could weaken by another 45% before the century is out - leading to a potential "tipping point" at which the flow would become unstable.
If that happens, it is likely that the world will be a very different place for future generations.
Source: Sky News | Comments (34)