‘Drastic’ Currents

January 5, 2011

Another brick in the wall of climate change.
In a new study published via the US National Academy of Science journal PNAS, releates some most-incredible changes in North Atlantic Ocean currents, a series of shifts which could impact even more the planet getting hotter.
Key bit:

We conclude that the persistence of the warm, nutrient-rich regime since the early 1970s is largely unique in the context of the last approximately 1,800 yr.
This evidence suggests that nutrient variability in this region is coordinated with recent changes in global climate and underscores the broad potential of δ15N-AA for paleoceanographic studies of the marine N cycle.

(Illustration found here).

Mother Jones magazine translates:

The results reveal a sharply declining influence of the Labrador Current (colder, less saline, and nutrient-poor) in favor of Gulf Stream waters (warmer, saltier, nutrient-rich) since the 1970s, compared to the previous 1,800 years.

The interplay between the Labrador Current and the Gulf Stream is a crucial component of the North Atlantic Oscillation, one of the major climate drivers for North America and Europe.

And more via  Raw Story:

Scientists have pointed to a disruption or shifts in the oscillation as an explanation for moist or harsh winters in Europe, or severe summer droughts such as in Russia, in recent years.
One of the five scientists, Carsten Schubert, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Acquatic Sciences and Technology (EAWAG), underlined that for nearly 2,000 years the sub polar Labrador current off northern Canada and Newfoundland was the dominant force.

“Now the southern current has taken over, it’s really a drastic change,” Schubert told AFP, pointing to the evidence of the shift towards warmer water in the northwest Atlantic.

“The researchers suspect there is a direct connection between the changes in oceanic currents in the North Atlantic and global warming caused by human activities,” said EAWAG in a statement.

And this from Capital Weather Gang:

Interestingly, according to NOAA, the warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was more noteworthy compared to that in the Southern Hemisphere. Northern Hemisphere land areas had the warmest November on record, whereas land areas in the Southern Hemisphere ranked as the 21st warmest. However, since more than two-thirds of the planet’s land area is located in the Northern Hemisphere, the warmth in the north outweighed the relatively cool temperatures in the south.

Read all of the above in its entirety and more if you can, then go for a swim.

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