Mar
24

From the red wood forest to the xxxx xxxxxx waters

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I got yer trickle-down right here, pal. Those melty glaciers in the Antarctic and Greenland? Well:

The Gulf Stream that helps to keep Britain from freezing over in winter is slowing down faster now than at any time in the past millennium according to a study suggesting that major changes are taking place to the ocean currents of the North Atlantic.

Scientists believe that the huge volumes of freshwater flowing into the North Atlantic from the rapidly melting ice cap of Greenland have slowed down the ocean “engine” that drives the Gulf Stream from the Caribbean towards north-west Europe, bringing heat equivalent to the output of a million power stations.

Scientists say the change has largely taken place since 1970. According to Stefan Rahmstorf at Potsdam’s Institute for Climate Impact Research, this could be … bad:

The Gulf Stream is just one component — albeit the largest and most powerful — of the system of ocean water flows known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Similar overturning systems happen in all of the world’s oceans. The latest research supports previous studies that suggest overturning has slowed abruptly over the last several decades.

“If the slowdown of the Atlantic overturning continues, the impacts might be substantial,” Rahmstorf said in a statement. “Disturbing the circulation will likely have a negative effect on the ocean ecosystem, and thereby fisheries and the associated livelihoods of many people in coastal areas. A slowdown also adds to the regional sea-level rise affecting cities like New York and Boston.”

The latest research was published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Charlie Pierce speculates that the American conservative response will be:

a) Don’t trust the science-y scientists with their scientific science and Al Gore is fat, and what are “proxy measurements,” anyway? or

b) Look at England and how nice and temperate it’s been. Carbon dioxide is our amigo!

So long, Gulf Stream, it’s been good to know ya. Maybe Arlo can do the rewrite on “This Land Is Your Land.”

(Cross-posted from

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