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The Slowdown Of The Atlantic Gulf Stream & Its Consequences

April 20, 2023 by Robert Hasamski



In this analysis I will be observing the increased slowdown of the Atlantic Gulf Stream, more formally known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). I looked at this topic through the media sources Science Daily as well as New York Times, which brings out the topic with Left-Center bias to none. This is because this environmental issue is more factual and evidence base, with NYT showing a bit more of a liberal perspective on it.


For the past century, scientists have been watching, observing, and predicting the slowdown and geographical transition of the AMOC. It is a gulf stream that runs from the Gulf of Mexico under Florida and reaches out to Europe, moving water across continents and playing a role in weather conditions. “The AMOC slowdown has long been predicted by climate models as a response to global warming caused by greenhouse gases,” states Science Daily publisher Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Their studies indicate that the stream has already slowed down by 15 percent (PIK, Science Daily) due to the loss in its stability.



This is an ongoing and critical environmental issue today because drastic fluctuations in the AMOC may result in “…faster sea level rise along parts of the United States East Coast and Europe, stronger hurricanes barreling into the Southeastern United States… (Heather, NYT),” and much more. Because of the Earth’s rotation, currents move to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. Slowing down these currents will pile up more water on the U.S. east coast.



A collapse of the entire ocean system may not yet be imminent, but it is a reminder of how dire the risks are when messing with a system so large on our planet, like poking a giant beast. The real risks are harder to predict due to the fact that this deterioration is occurring at a fast rate. There isn’t another ocean we can compare to that hasn’t fallen to the effects of increased greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2). What scientists do know is that if we continue to drive global warming, the AMOC will further weaken by 34 – 35% by 2100 according to current climate models. Measures required to reduce the risks of this issue will include the overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, mainly CO2. Until this ultimately happens, we will continue to sit until we hit a tipping point, and who knows how exactly that will unspool.


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Sources


Murphy H. (2021, August 5). A Crucial System of Ocean Currents Is Faltering, Research Suggests. New York Times. Retrieved September 6, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/05/us/gulf-stream-collapse.html


Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). (2021, February 25). Gulf Stream System at its weakest in over a millennium. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 6, 2021, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210225113357.htm


Huitsing, M. (2021, March 31). New York Times. Media Bias Fact Checker. https://www.mediabiasfactcheck.com/new-york-times/


van Zandt, D. (2021, April 21). Science Daily. Media Bias Fact Checkers. https://www.mediabiasfactcheck.com/science-daily/

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