The collapse of the Gulf Stream would be catastrophic. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Brocken Inaglory
Climate experts have detected warning signs that the Gulf Stream could collapse in the not-too-distant future.
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.
"The signs of destabilisation being visible already is something that I wouldn't have expected and that I find scary," said Niklas Boers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.
"It's something you just can't [allow to] happen."
Suffice to say, if the Gulf Stream was to collapse, it would cause catastrophic disruption worldwide.
"The only thing to do is keep emissions as low as possible," said Boers. "The likelihood of this extremely high-impact event happening increases with every gram of CO2 that we put into the atmosphere."
Exactly when such a collapse is likely to happen is currently unclear. It could be two decades away or it could be two centuries away, but it is coming.
Whether we can find a way to stop it before it's too late, however, remains to be seen.
Source: The Guardian | Comments (21)