A new study has reached troubling conclusions about changes in a vital aspect of the global climate system.
why does it matter: The apparent weakness of the Atlantic Meridian Solstice (AMOC) circulation — largely due to melting ice — is a reminder that climate change can lead to nasty surprises in the future.
News Lead: at A study published in Natural Earth Sciences On Thursday, researchers reported that AMOC — a system of ocean currents that includes the Florida Current and the Gulfstream — is in «its weakest state in more than a thousand years.»
- AMOC is the thermohaline circulation of the oceans, and it plays an important role in global climate management, including keeping temperatures in Europe warmer than they would otherwise be for latitude.
The Big Picture: Your mother Has called The «Achilles Heel» in the climate, causing drastic changes as it changes and stops throughout Earth’s history.
- It caught a moment of fame in the 2004 film The Day After Tomorrow, as it stopped and caused severe storms and weather that devastated major cities around the world.
Yes, but: Nothing is expected to be close to this strict even if the current weakens much more, and The researchers still don’t have a direct understanding On the validity of AMOC, which is why they were forced to use agent data in the study.
Bottom line: The biggest cause to worry about climate change — and act on it — is not the most likely but survivable bad outcomes, but the least likely one that could be truly existential.