Reindeer in Scotland might not be so rare
Research, published…in the journal Nature Communications, used a simulation from a highly complex model to analyse the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), an important component of the Earth’s climate system.
It showed that early warning signals are present up to 250 years before it collapses, suggesting that scientists could monitor the real world overturning circulation for the same signals.
The AMOC is like a conveyor belt in the ocean, driven by the salinity and temperature of the water. The system transports heat energy from the tropics and Southern Hemisphere to the North Atlantic, where it is transferred to the atmosphere.
Experiments suggest that if the AMOC is ‘switched off’ by extra freshwater entering the North Atlantic, surface air temperature in the North Atlantic region would cool by around 1-3°C, with enhanced cooling of up to 8°C in the worst affected regions.
The collapse would also encourage drought in the Sahel — the area just south of the Sahara desert — and dynamic changes in sea level of up to 80cm along the coasts of Europe and North America.
“We found that natural fluctuations in the circulation were getting longer-lived as the collapse was approached, a phenomenon known as critical slowing down,” said lead author Chris Boulton.
“We don’t know how close we are to a collapse of the circulation, but a real world early warning could help us prevent it, or at least prepare for the consequences” adds co-author Professor Tim Lenton.
The study is the most realistic simulation of the climate system in which this type of early warning signal has been tested.
It’s everyone’s wildest sci-fi movie. Wild only because climate change deniers have focused their paid-for-stupidity only on the aspects of climate change indicating environments with rising temperatures. Actually the whole North Atlantic current from the Gulf Stream via the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation warms the north and west of Europe and the UK from what would be normal temps absent that elevator.
The Benelux countries and the UK might become more like Lapland.
My curiosity extends to changes in humidity and precipitation. The report indicates desertification south of the Sahara. I wonder if the affected areas of Europe might end up with increased precipitation. Folks in the west of Scotland, Wales and England might have to sprout webbed feet.
Thanks, Mike – GMTA