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Global Ocean Circulation Appears To Be Collapsing Due To A Warming Planet

Global Ocean Circulation Appears To Be Collapsing Due To A Warming Planet thumbnail

Scientists have long known about the anomalous “warming hole” in the North Atlantic Ocean, an area immune to warming of Earth’s oceans. This cool zone in the North Atlantic Ocean appears to be associated with a slowdown in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), one of the key drivers in global ocean circulation.

A recent study published in Nature outlines research by a team of Yale University and University of Southhampton scientists. The team found evidence that Arctic ice loss is potentially negatively impacting the planet’s largest ocean circulation system. While scientists do have some analogs as to how this may impact the world, we will be largely in uncharted territory.

AMOC is one of the largest current systems in the Atlantic Ocean and the world. Generally speaking, it transports warm and salty water northward from the tropics to South and East of Greenland. This warm water cools to ambient water temperature then sinks as it is saltier and thus denser than the relatively more fresh surrounding water. The dense mass of water sinks to the base of the North Atlantic Ocean and is pushed south along the abyss of the Atlantic Ocean.


Schematic of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation

This process whereby water is transported into the Northern Atlantic Ocean acts to distribute ocean water globally. What’s more important, and the basis for concern of many scientists is this mechanism is one of the most efficient ways Earth transports heat from the tropics to the northern latitudes. The warm water transported from the tropics to the North Atlantic releases heat to the atmosphere, playing a key role in warming of western Europe. You likely have heard of one of the more popular components of the AMOC, the Gulf Stream which brings warm tropical water to the western coasts of Europe.

Evidence is growing that the comparatively cold zone within the Northern Atlantic could be due to a slowdown of this global ocean water circulation. Hence, a slowdown in the planet’s ability to transfer heat from the tropics to the northern latitudes. The cold zone could be due to melting of ice in the Arctic and Greenland. This would cause a cold fresh water cap over the North Atlantic, inhibiting sinking of salty tropical waters. This would in effect slow down the global circulation and hinder the transport of warm tropical waters north.


Measured trend in temperature variations from 1900 to 2012.

Melting of the Arctic sea ice has rapidly increased in the recent decades. Satellite image records indicate that September Arctic sea ice is 30% less today than it was in 1979. This trend of increased sea ice melting during summer months does not appear to be slowing. Hence, indications are that we will see a continued weakening of the global ocean circulation system.

This scenario of a collapse in AMOC and global ocean circulation is the premise for the movie “The Day After Tomorrow.” As a disclaimer, the plot line in which much of New England and Western Europe gets plunged into an ice age is significantly over exaggerated and unrealistic on human time scales.

While geologists have studied events in the past similar to what appears to be happening today, scientists are largely unsure of what lies ahead.


42 Comments on "Global Ocean Circulation Appears To Be Collapsing Due To A Warming Planet"

  1. Dredd on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 6:28 pm 

    Yet another detectable anomaly (The World According To Anomalies – 2).

  2. makati1 on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 6:33 pm 

    “…, scientists are largely unsure of what lies ahead.’

    A true statement from the money mag. The Gulf Stream determines western Europe’s weather. That is old news. That it may change in the near future, is new.

  3. onlooker on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 6:35 pm 

    We puny humans are messing with the very foundations of the Earth’s life support systems and functioning. Do not expect us necessarily to survive this.

  4. makati1 on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 6:52 pm 

    Onlooker, it doesn’t look good. I wonder what the Vegas Odds are? 90 to 1 that we are gone by 2100? 99 to 1? I have not seen one plus for humanity since I started watching the CC subject over a decade ago. Not one. All negative.

  5. Shortend on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 7:10 pm 

    Old news, this has been put forth some years ago by others, such as, Dr. James Hansen in his book, “Storms of My Grandchildren”.
    Unfortunately, with Harvey and Irma…these belong to us!
    Keep warming the planet Guys….

  6. makati1 on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 7:54 pm 

    In other news:

    “Plastic particles found in most tap water samples across the globe”
    (With an average of 83 percent of samples harboring plastic, the U.S. fared the worst with a whopping contamination rate of 94 percent.)
    “5 facts about Millennial households” (Not good facts)
    “Navy Ships Suffered From Shoddy Maintenance, Overworked Sailors”
    “Can’t afford the dentist? You’re not alone”
    “Welcome To The Third World, Part 25: Losing Faith In College” (hahaha)
    “Federal auditors say US nuclear dump running out of room”
    All at:

    Enjoy your weekend!

  7. Davy on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 8:14 pm 

    maKAT, no plastic in my water. I would hate to know what is in your Manila water.

  8. makati1 on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 8:25 pm 

    “Over a million kids in America six years old and under are on psychiatric drugs – mostly to treat anxiety.”

    “Currently, over a million American children UNDER SIX YEARS OLD are taking psychiatric drugs. Babies are literally being doped up by the pharmaceutical industry. Over 274,000 babies UNDER ONE-YEAR-OLD are given drugs, mostly for anxiety.”

    I think the US has hit the hockey stick moment on the insanity chart.

  9. makati1 on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 8:27 pm 

    Davy, you have no idea what is in your water, even if it is from a well. I suggest you pay to have it tested by a reputable service for ALL contaminants. I think you will be unpleasantly surprised.

  10. Davy on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 8:32 pm 

    I have tested it maKAT. It is excellent. Have you tested yours. Do you even drink it. I bet you drink bottled water.

  11. Bloomer on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 8:32 pm 

    Another hoax by the Chinese who hate capitalism and America.

  12. Apneaman on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 8:49 pm 

    Boat I found this picture of a guy in Houston. Do you know him?

  13. Apneaman on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 8:52 pm 

    Six people died from heat-related illnesses amid a record-breaking hot spell that roasted the Bay Area over the Labor Day weekend, officials say.

    Pretty soon we’re going to have to throw the record book out the window. What’s the point of keeping score now?

  14. Apneaman on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 9:14 pm 

    Hurricane Harvey – Extraordinary Flooding for Houston and Surrounding Areas

    “The analysis finds that Harvey brought 1,000-year rains over a 24-hour period over much of the Houston, Galveston, and areas extending east all the way to Louisiana.

    In addition, the storm delivered wide-spread 25,000-year rains over a 120-hour period, and isolated locations witnessed 500,000-year rains over a 120-hour period.”

  15. makati1 on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 9:47 pm 

    No way to prove it, but I would be surprised if it were true. I had nitrogen in my well water over 20 years ago from farming around my house. I bet you do also. Not that you would ever admit it.

    As for my water here. I have a very efficient filter system for my drinking and cooking water. I don’t even like chlorine in my water. I use only glass containers and stainless steel cooking utensils. At the farm, it is rain, well or spring water. As pure as you can get on this planet now. No industry or large farms for 60 miles and that is across a mountain chain. Rain water will come from the Pacific most of the year. The water system is the best I can set up. I’m just fine, thank you.

  16. makati1 on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 9:49 pm 

    Bloomer, “who hate capitalism and America”. You just named most of the countries in the world today.

  17. Apneaman on Sat, 9th Sep 2017 11:26 pm 

    Here’s the power the humans have unleashed.

    Hurricane Irma is literally sucking the water away from shorelines – VIDEO

    “As a meteorologist, there are things you learn in textbooks that you may never see in person. You know they happen theoretically, but the chances of seeing the most extraordinary weather phenomena are slim to none.

    This is one of those things — a hurricane strong enough to change the shape of an ocean.”

    90% -93% of all the trapped heat from AGW has gone into the oceans and now that heat-energy is feeding the beast(s). Energy in energy out.

  18. Go Speed Racer on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 12:17 am 

    All this global warming is so depressing,
    Think I will go to the backyard, and light
    a couch on fire, to take my mind off all
    the climate and pollution problems.

  19. Apathy on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 12:30 am 

    Morons. If you don’t hate capitalism yourself, you are a fucking ignoramus. What do you think destroyed the planet?

  20. J. H. Wyoming on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 12:41 am 

    “No offence, but y’all have been playing too nice.”

    That is a quote from an Apneaman post on Scribbler’s website regarding people playing too nice with the deniers. I can’t post there because Scribbler and I didn’t agree on something. What a sensitive guy.

    Anyway, thought your long post there was great! And particularly the part about people playing too nice with deniers. No kidding, as they explain themselves so nicely over and over again thinking that the information alone is all that needs to be conveyed. No, it’s a war. People have to get much tougher and fight hard.

  21. Bloomer on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 12:50 am 

    Tongue in cheek Makati…I don’t believe President Trump speaks for the majority of the American people on climate change. He speaks on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.
    The more carbon emitted into the atmosphere the more thermal heat waves are trapped thus warming the earth. Humans created this problem and humans could potentially solve it. Unfortunately, special interest continue to impede any momentum in gaining political support to reduce carbon emissions.

    Time is running out.

  22. makati1 on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 1:04 am 

    Bloomer, I agree. It seems we have hit the point where it is only going to move faster to the end. Watching Irma and Jose as they plow toward Texas is fascinating.

    I said yesterday that Irma was veering west and would likely miss Miami. But that leaves a lot of Gulf states in the target area. The steering winds seem to be pushing her south.

    If I were in Texas, I would not be in a hurry to get home to the coast. Another day or so will tell. But, I don’t see Irma going up the west coast of Florida. More into the Gulf and who knows where Jose is headed.

  23. Apneaman on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 1:13 am 

    “What do you think destroyed the planet?” – Humans

    Humans, starting the instant their brains made a cognative leap, and became homo sapiens, some 100,000 years ago.

    Ya, soon as those new cognitive function were working the killing and plundering began.

    Humans responsible for demise of gigantic ancient mammals

    Early humans were the dominant cause of the extinction of a variety of species of giant beasts, new research has revealed.

    “Known collectively as megafauna, most of the largest mammals ever to roam the earth were wiped out over the last 80,000 years, and were all extinct by 10,000 years ago.”

    See the timing on that, Apathy?

    Soon as the new higher brain functions evolved the slaughter started. Plenty of burning down forests to flush out the game and create grassland to attract more game. Whatever it took. Whatever they could think up that made it pay off.

    Humans have been altering tropical forests for at least 45,000 years
    Tens of thousands of years of controlled burns, forest management and clear-cutting have implications for modern conservation efforts and shatter the image of the ‘untouched’ tropical forest

    Hunter Gatherers Burned Down Europe’s Forests 20,000 Years Ago
    Mass man made ecological destruction is nothing new.

    No noble savage, just a clever rapacious ape.

    And when all that big easy meat was gone they did what they had to to survive – Agriculture. They did not just up and ‘invent’ it out of necessity. They knew plenty about plants and even growing them before industrial style agriculture started. They turned to it so their families would not starve. It was the only choice. No more big game to feed their expanded population. Hey, a good cancer always finds a way to grow until it’s ALL gone. We da best ever.

    What techno industrial capitalism does/did/doing was/is assure the end would come as fast as humans could possibly make it come. Denial is built into capitalism. It’s suicidal. In a way it seems logical that capitalism or something like it would organically emerge from human minds to justify last great stage of the cancer. No other cancers need to make excuses for their behaviour because they are not conscious and don’t know they will die. This is why we make shit up. Humans need to explain or explain away or deny that they are just another creature whose core programming and growth imperative calls the shots. It can’t be over ridden.

  24. Apneaman on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 1:31 am 

    J. H. Wyoming, thanks for saying. I looked shortly after and the one response, from a ‘greg’ was not as appreciative as yours. Something about printing my comment off and using it for asswipe – lol

    I too have been barred (temporarily) by scribby – you’re in good company pardner.

  25. Apneaman on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 1:48 am 

    GSR, sorry to hear you’re feeling so down. Hey, I know! Since you are the resident pyromanic perhaps these photos will cheer you up?


    This year’s devastating wildfire season in the American west, in photos

  26. joe on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 9:54 am

  27. tahoe1780 on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 10:51 am 

    If they rebuild it, will they come?

  28. _____________________ on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 11:43 am 

    Queer fags will keep on fagging. Currents will slow down as the sun cools and you get iced

  29. Go Speed Racer on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 12:23 pm 

    Greetings Sleep Apnea man,

    Hey I feel better already. I got a song just for me,
    Burn baby burn Disco Inferno. And it wasn’t on 45 RPM,
    it was live. Thanks!

    Yeah the Columbia River fire pictures are insane.
    Bone dry for 3 months no rain, and while that’s
    burning the tornadoes are drowning Texas and Florida.

    But there ain’t no global warming, says the Trump
    votin preacher-man from his Sunday pulpit.

    Yeah those fires make my 8 pallets, 3 tires and and a sofa on top, backyard party fire look mighty small.

    Yeah and some dumb punkass 15 year olds
    even lit one of those fires with a smoke pot.
    Know why they could be that
    Cause they smoke pot and threw a smoke pot, LOL.

    But is the stupidest people in America
    the homegrown retarded teenagers?
    Nope! It’s the dumb stupid adults.

    So they got a fully designed 747 for
    dumping water on fires.

    So the dumb stupid ‘Smokey The Bear’
    Forest service, they say, no we don’t want
    To hire that tanker, it drops too much water.
    We only want little tankers that drop little water.

    Think Trump or the government will
    say “what a great idea let’s buy the
    design and make 50 more of those”.
    LOL. Too busy in a D.C. Hotel snorting
    cocaine off the hookers tits, and sending
    the bill to you an me (only poor people
    pay taxes in America).

    USA = United Snakes of America.

  30. Apneaman on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 3:23 pm 

    Car-centric Houston struggles after loss of countless autos

    “The wreckage has forced Houstonians to scramble to try to rent or borrow cars or to work from home — if they can. Some have it worse: They can’t return to work until they resolve the transportation problems, depriving many of them of income and slowing the city’s return to business as usual.”

    “Cox estimates that up to 500,000 cars and trucks were damaged or destroyed, amounting to nearly $5 billion in damage. Auto insurance claims have reached 160,000, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.”

    Now I consider this story to be newsworthy due to the wide ranging effects on Houston and beyond. They need to get it sorted out.

    So I google news “Houston” and the first six stories are about Beyoncé doing it fer da children, followed by three stories of Janet Jackson crying fer Houston, then George Cloony commenting on the disaster.

    All the important stuff. Anything to distract which is their real purpose.

  31. Apneaman on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 3:27 pm 

    Houston residents confront officials over decision to flood neighborhoods

    “OUSTON (Reuters) – Angry Houston residents shouted at city officials on Saturday over decisions to intentionally flood certain neighborhoods during Hurricane Harvey, as they returned to homes that may have been contaminated by overflowing sewers.”

    Yabut, Beyoncé is handing out ham & cheese sandwiches, Show me that instead.

  32. Apneaman on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 3:29 pm 

    Houston: A Global Warning

    The devastation of Hurricane Harvey marks a turning point and raises the terrible possibility that we’ve entered the age of climate chaos

    “Let there be no doubt: the horrific damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey was an almost entirely man-made catastrophe, one fingerprinted by all-too-human neglect, corruption and denial. If we needed a reminder of the power of water to destroy an American city, Hurricane Harvey provided it. In Houston, a fast-growing metropolis of more than 2 million people, it wasn’t the wind that was so damaging, or a storm surge pushing in – it was just water everywhere, falling for days in biblical torrents and transforming highways into rivers, flowing into homes, killing dozens, sending tens of thousands of people fleeing for higher ground. It was a terrifying and deadly display of what happens when nature collides with urban life on a planet radically altered by climate change.”

  33. Apneaman on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 3:53 pm 

    Rain Bombs keep falling

    Family of four drown as Italian city is hit by 16ins of rainfall in four hours which turns streets into rivers and washes away cars

    “At least six people have died in violent rainstorms sweeping across Italy on Sunday, with the Tuscan city of Livorno taking the brunt of the flooding, fire services said.”

  34. makati1 on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 6:10 pm 

    Ap, Americans have built the most unsustainable living arrangement on the planet. Now Mother Nature is pointing it out to them in terrifying ways. It is only beginning. Jose is on the same path at this point.

    Distraction is the American way. More proof that the dumbed down American has no idea what is being done to him/her by their own government. OLr hat the real world outside America is like.

  35. Go Speed Racer on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 6:12 pm 

    Rain Bombs Keep Falling on my Head
    (this one on 45 rpm)

    Rain Bombs Keep falling on my head
    And just like the guy whose got 2 feet
    water around his bed,

    Nothing gets dried out
    Those Rain Bombs are falling on my head, they keep falling

    So I just did me some talking to the judge
    And I said I didn’t like the way they got things done
    Embezzling on the job
    Those Rain Bombs are falling on my head, they keep fallin’

    But there’s one thing I know
    The Feds they send to meet me
    Won’t beat me, it won’t be long
    ‘Till Trump steps up to greet me

    Rain Bombs keep falling on my head
    But that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red
    Crying sure for me
    ‘Cause I’m never gonna stop those floods by complaining

    Because Rain Bombs keep falling on my head

  36. Apneaman on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 7:30 pm 

    GSR, Weird Al ain’t got nothing on you.

  37. Apneaman on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 7:38 pm 

    Most powerful environmentalist in America: GOP science denial causing massive “human tragedy”

    “The Republican Party as a whole has made no secret of their antagonism toward science in general, and climate science in particular.

    In contradiction to the vast majority of the world, the party remains largely beholden to a worldview which either rejects the concept of climate change altogether, or at least downplays the severity of it and the role that human activity plays in its exacerbation.

    Donald Trump himself has referred to climate change as a “hoax,” possibly perpetrated by China.”

    Instead of voting for these people why not just go and shoot your family in the head? Save them the pain of going through the next AGW jacked disaster then the next one and the next until it gets them too. Mercy.

  38. Apneaman on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 7:46 pm 

    Another group, the MSM, owned by the overlords, who don’t give a fuck about you & yours.

    Sunday shows largely fail to mention climate change in Hurricane Irma coverage

    CNN’s State of the Union was the only Sunday morning political show to mention climate change when discussing Irma

  39. Apneaman on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 7:51 pm 

    Gov. Rick Scott enabled Irma’s Fury through Climate Denialism & Should Resign

    Blood, blood we want blood – lmao

  40. onlooker on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 8:12 pm 

    Funny, because watching CNN, a meteorologist with th National Weather Center was asked whether he thought they’re was a link between CC and hurricane Irma. He really danced around the question and did not answer it directly and I could tell he felt uncomfortable

  41. makati1 on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 8:22 pm 

    “The storms are only going to get worse”

    An understatement if I ever heard one.

  42. Apneaman on Sun, 10th Sep 2017 11:38 pm 

    Climate deniers boldly go where no conspiracy theorists have gone before

    Deniers are on the wrong side of history in the worst sort of way.

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