Scientists warn that climate change could lead to a collapse of the Gulf Stream and cause significant cooling in Europe.

Gulf Stream (Europe Press)

In a recent study, Researchers from the University College London Published in the magazine naturewarns against it Climate change could cause the Gulf Stream to collapseIt is a major current of warm water, which could have dire consequences for Europe.

Jack WhartonThe study's lead researcher explained that global warming could weaken the environment. Gulf Stream, A giant conveyor belt of water across the North Atlantic Ocean, Which would lower temperatures in Europe by up to 15 degrees Celsius.“If the winds are weaker in the future, as a recent study using climate models shows, it could mean disaster.” Gulf Stream “Europe is weaker and colder,” Wharton said.

The Gulf Stream carries warm water from the tropics to Europe, releasing heat energy into the atmosphere and maintaining a mild climate on the continent. However, any major change in these currents could radically change the climate. Researchers from the University of California Sediment samples were collected from the coasts of North Carolina and Florida, looking for the presence of ancient microorganisms called foraminifera, to better understand the Gulf Stream's sensitivity to climate change.

A collapse of the Gulf Stream would have multiple devastating effects on Earth (Illustration)

Co-author of the study, Professor David ThornleyHe pointed out that these fossils allow us to record the density of the water in which they lived at that time, which makes it easier to determine how the Gulf Stream flowed in past ages. “We discovered that during last ice age“The Gulf Stream was much stronger because of the strong winds in the North Atlantic,” Thornley said.

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The last ice age, about 20,000 years ago, covered much of the Northern Hemisphere with ice. However, records suggest that the powerful Gulf Stream helped keep temperatures warmer in Europe. According to him Dr. WhartonAt that time, the current was twice as deep and twice as fast as it is today, due to winds coming from the subtropical North Atlantic. “The Gulf Stream was still transporting a lot of heat northward, even though the rest of the planet was much cooler,” Wharton explained.

Recent studies indicate that climate change is already here. double strong winds North Atlantic which helps feed the Gulf Stream. Thornely also noted that the global warming cycle is heavily dependent on these currents, so any change in their strength could have wide-ranging climate implications. “The oceans transport enormous amounts of heat around the world, equivalent to the energy of millions of power plants.”“Changing the strength of ocean currents can change the amount of heat distributed everywhere, changing our climate and, on shorter timescales, our weather,” he said.

Researchers cannot accurately predict the impact of climate change (Illustrated Image Infobae)

The Gulf Stream is only part of Atlantic Meridional Circulation (AMC)It is a vast network of currents that pump warm water around the world. Previous research suggests that the collapse of this large ocean current system could cause temperatures to drop by more than 3 degrees Celsius every 10 years.

he Professor Mark MaslinThe study's co-author said that climate change could disrupt “engine“Which drives the subtropical current. When ocean water meets the ice around it Greenland in the North Atlantic Ocean under the ArcticIt cools quickly and becomes very dense and salty. This causes the water to sink, pulling the hot water behind it and creating a broad circulation pattern. However, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet can dilute this water and make it less dense, slowing the subtropical circulation and weakening the Gulf Stream.

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The collapse of the Gulf Stream will have several causes. Destructive effects On the ground, including the dramatic cooling of Europe And a Sea level rise that would severely affect North America. Maslin warned: “Ironically, a warming climate could cool much of Europe by altering the AMOC,”.

The Gulf Stream is a giant conveyor belt of water across the North Atlantic Ocean (illustrative image)

he cost of sea level rise It will also have a negative impact on gross domestic product From several countries, especially those located on the east coast of United State, As shown on the interactive map. If the CMA weakens significantly, normal weather patterns may be disrupted and extreme weather events, including floods, heat waves and droughts, will become more common.

Researchers can't predict exactly what impact climate change will have, but current models suggest a weakening of the Gulf Stream, which is already affecting farming and weather patterns in Europe. Just like in the movie the day after tomorrowThis could also cause sea levels to rise in North America, Thornley concludes. “Changes in the AMOC will also cause changes in sea level around the North Atlantic, with large increases along the east coast of North America.”.

Lovell Loxley

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