Melting ice is slowing ocean’s circulation system

Unprecedented melting of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, combined with warming ocean water, could cause sea levels to rise by more than 3 feet by the end of the century, according to new report.

The assessment was compiled by more than 100 authors from 36 countries as part of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The findings suggest that as melting glaciers add vast amounts of much fresh water to the world’s oceans, the current system in the Atlantic is likely to weaken over time.

  • The ocean current system in the Atlantic Ocean, called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), is responsible for western Europe’s warm temperatures.
  • But according to a new report from the United Nations, rising water temperatures and changes to the salinity of the world’s oceans is causing the AMOC to weaken.
  • Other recent research has found that the AMOC could slow significantly if enough fresh water from melting ice enters the ocean.
  • Weaker current circulation could bring more extreme weather to the Northern Hemisphere.
  • A version of this scenario is depicted in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow,” though the film isn’t scientifically accurate.

As that happens, Europe could get colder, drier weather, and the tropics could experience stronger hurricanes.

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