Climate Change - AMOC goes Amuck?


There's a current known as the Atlantic Ocean circulation that is responsible for the Gulf Stream that, in turn, regulates the weather in Europe and North America. Scientists have worried about the future of the Gulf Stream for years. New research finds that the Atlantic Circulation is weaker than it has been in a millennium and climate change is the likely culprit

Further weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) could result in more storms battering the UK, and more intense winters and an increase in damaging heatwaves and droughts across Europe.

Scientists predict that the AMOC will weaken further if global heating continues, and could reduce by about 34% to 45% by the end of this century, which could bring us close to a “tipping point” at which the system could become irrevocably unstable. A weakened Gulf Stream would also raise sea levels on the Atlantic coast of the US, with potentially disastrous consequences.

Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who co-authored the study published on Thursday in Nature Geoscience, told the Guardian that a weakening AMOC would increase the number and severity of storms hitting Britain, and bring more heatwaves to Europe.



  1. "The chances of life and environment spontaneously organising into self-regulating states may be much higher than you would expect. If fact, given sufficient biodiversity, it may be extremely likely. But there is a limit to this stability. Push the system too far and it may go beyond a tipping point and rapidly collapse to a new and potentially very different state."

    1. You might enjoy Jared Diamond's "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed." I don't know who you're quoting but the speed at which we're damaging both the environment and biodiversity will present hurdles to "spontaneously organizing" self-regulating states. If you emerge from collapse sufficiently weakened, predators may move in before you can organize anything. Nature abhors a vacuum.

    2. Sorry, I was lazy and did not source my quote. Here it is:

      I love Lovelock's Gaia theory, even if James himself is now a little wonky centenarian. Others (as above) are fighting the good fight, carrying on.

      One facet of Gaia is that 'she' 'likes' stable states - if the current state cannot hold, then a rapid shift to new stable (warmer in this case) state is achieved. Lovelock points to such shifts in the geological record. The wildfires clearing the way for drought resistant species that can survive in the future/Gulf stream failing/failed jet-stream stability etc all accelerate the change to find a new equilibrium.

      'Rapid shift' used to mean a millennia-long periods but the carbon buildup triggering the shift also took millenia. We've created the same warming-trigger in just a century. If the gulf stream and related systems fail, as your article warns about, we will learn about rapid shifts and these will be the good old days.

  2. Remember this movie?

    Awfully familiar at the moment.


  3. The theory is overblown.
    The story is pure Hollywood.

    It takes me back to the 'Day After" a story about nuclear disaster that I thought had an affect on the then nuclear weapons ideology.

    I had hoped that this movie , The Day after tomorrow, would have similar affect but as all climate change questions go it meant proactive actions rather than the reactionary ones after a nuclear disaster.

    Movie visionaries have warned us many times of the errors of our ways but we still cast our votes to those that offer t he cheapest beer.


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