The study postulates that the current system in question has suffered “an almost complete loss of stability over the last century.”
The ocean current system known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which includes the Gulf Stream, may be on the brink of collapse, Live Science reports citing a new study.
The AMOC is “responsible for moderating large parts of the world’s climate” as its currents transport water from the tropics to the north while bringing cold water from the north back south.
Now, the new study warns that AMOC has suffered “an almost complete loss of stability over the last century.”
According to the media outlet, the collapse of this system would have a “disastrous impact on global weather systems,” with possible consequences including rising sea levels in the Atlantic, “greater cooling and more powerful storms across the Northern Hemisphere,” and “severe disruption to the rain that billions of people rely upon to grow crops in Africa, South America and India.”
The study reportedly seeks to resolve a debate among scientists working on the subject about whether the weakening of the AMOC means its circulation will slow down – “but in a way that humans can reduce through lowering carbon emissions,” or if the system is “about to flip to a permanently weaker form that could not be reversed for hundreds of years.”