Tipping Point for Atlantic Current System?

Map of global ocean currents. Image source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change via phys.org

Although there is still debate over how close we are to a slowdown or even a shutdown of a critical Atlantic Ocean current system that for millennia has regulated water, air and land temperatures around the Atlantic Ocean, a new study suggests that a tipping point may be much closer than previously thought.

The study released last week suggests that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) may be affected rapidly by global heating in the coming years. This would limit its ability to distribute warm water and warm air along the east coast of North America and over to northern Europe. This would likely cause temperatures to rise in the southern hemisphere while temperatures in the northern hemisphere, particularly in Europe, would likely decrease or even plunge downward.

Although scientists are not yet in agreement about how close we are to a tipping point, some have suggested that it may come as early as 2025! This report is yet another piece of evidence suggesting a similar, horrifying possibility. One researcher from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research in Germany said, “we ignore this at our peril.”

We agree. This is one more warning. Our earth and all the species on it are in danger of reaching a cliff-like tipping point at which life on earth becomes much, much worse.

But we can prevent the worst from happening, or maybe even stop it if we act quickly enough. We have little time to lose.