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In the News

Concern over global ocean circulation changes

Andy Day

14th April 2018

Scientists are worried over the potential collapse of some of the world's ocean current routes and the impact that changes to oceanic circulation could have on climate. Most people are worried about sea level rise and warming atmospheric temperatures and the effect these can have on places, but the global conveyor belt of currents has a direct impact on climate patterns and a change to these flows could be catastrophic.

The global conveyor belt, which moves cold water away from the poles and warm water away from the equator has a crucial role to play in maintaining global temperatures and the climate found in many places around the World.  Should this movement be altered, this can significantly affect climates in various parts of the World.  The main concern is that the melting ice caps will interrupt the conveyor belt of ocean currents, slowing down the movement of cold and warm water globally.  Europe, for example, is warmed by the Gulf Stream.  Since the 1950s there has been a weakening of 15% of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Amoc).  Should this current weaken further, long-term models predict increased cooling over Europe as the Gulf Stream's capacity to bring warm tropical Atlantic water to Europe will diminish.

  For more information about this subject, read this report published in the Guardian

This is a weekly blog of Geography in the News written by Jo Parkinson

Andy Day

Andy recently finished being a classroom geographer after 35 years at two schools in East Yorkshire as head of geography, head of the humanities faculty and director of the humanities specialism. He has written extensively about teaching and geography - with articles in the TES, Geography GCSE Wideworld and Teaching Geography.

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