Major Atlantic ocean current system might be approaching a critical threshold | Daily Current Affairs 2021

Major Atlantic ocean current system might be approaching a critical threshold

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Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)

AMOC: A study recently published in Nature Climate Change notes that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is losing its stability.

Key Points:

  • According to the IPCC’s Report (AR6) released on August 9, it is very likely that AMOC will decline over the 21st century.
  • Modeling studies have shown that an AMOC shutdown would cool the northern hemisphere and decrease rainfall over Europe.

What is AMOC?

  • The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is a major Atlantic Ocean Current transporting warm surface waters toward the northern Atlantic.
  • It is the Atlantic branch of the ocean conveyor belt or Thermohaline circulation (THC). It distributes heat and nutrients throughout the world’s ocean basins.
  • AMOC carries warm surface waters from the tropics towards the Northern Hemisphere, where it cools and sinks.
  • It then returns to the tropics and then to the South Atlantic as a bottom current.
  • From there it is distributed to all ocean basins via the Antarctic circumpolar current.

What happens if AMOC collapses?

  • A collapse from the currently attained strong to the weak mode would have severe impacts on the global climate system and further multi-stable Earth system components.
  • Modeling studies have shown that an AMOC shutdown would cool the northern hemisphere and decrease rainfall over Europe.
  • It can also have an effect on El Nino.
  • Gulf Stream which is a part of the AMOC is a warm current responsible for mild climate at the Eastern coast of North America as well as Europe.
  • Without a proper AMOC and Gulf Stream, Europe will be very cold.

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