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Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)

Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)

AMOC stands for Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. The AMOC circulates water from north to south and back in a long cycle within the Atlantic Ocean. A recent article in Nature Communications warns of a forthcoming collapse of the AMOC.

Description: System of ocean currents in the Atlantic Ocean, redistributing warm and cold water globally.

Critical Role: Influences Europe and North America’s climate, moderates temperatures near the Equator.

Speed: Slow circulation; takes around 1,000 years for water parcels to complete the journey.

Potential Collapse of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)

  • Studies: Recent findings suggest a collapse between 2025 and 2095 due to human-induced emissions.
  • First Tipping Element: May be the initial tipping point among 16 climate tipping elements.
  • Significance: Collapse may disrupt ocean circulation worldwide.

Tipping Elements in Earth’s Climate System

  • Definition: Critical thresholds in climate systems, signifying irreversible large-scale shifts.
  • Examples: Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet loss, Amazon rainforest shifts, Arctic sea-ice shrinkage, AMOC weakening.

Impact of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation Collapse

  • Domino Effect: Collapse could trigger instability in other climate systems.
  • Potential Effects:
  • Amazon Rainforest: May stabilize or turn dry due to increased tropical heat.
  • Sahel/West African Monsoon: Altered wind flow from AMOC could impact monsoon establishment.
  • West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Heat retention from AMOC collapse could expedite ice sheet melting.

The collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) poses a significant risk, potentially impacting global climate systems and initiating a domino effect that affects crucial ecosystems and climate patterns worldwide.

Read Also: Ocean Current Collapse Threatens Earth’s Climate

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