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Human-induced climate change has caused a substantial reduction in the Gulf Stream’s rate of flow, according to a new study by a team of scientists from Ireland, Britain and Germany published in the journal Nature Geoscience (Caesar et al, 25 February 2021). Furthermore, the researchers predict that should this trend continue, which is likely under current conditions, the degradation of the Gulf Stream will reach a “tipping point” beyond which the change will become irreversible, producing major, negative impacts to weather patterns along the North Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America. The results of this study support previous modeling that predicted the slowing that has now been documented.
The North Atlantic Gulf Stream, also known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), begins near Florida, flows northward along the east coast of North America, then swings eastward toward Europe, subsequently diverging into a number of separate currents. It is one of the world’s major ocean currents which have a major influence on global climate. In particular, the Gulf Stream acts as a moderating influence on the weather patterns of eastern North America and western Europe. Without it, weather patterns in these areas would be more extreme, including a greater […]