Evidence of slowing gulf stream


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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051130/sc_nm/environment_ocean_dc [Broken]

---sample quote---
...If the 30 percent slowdown seen over the past 12 years is not just a blip, temperatures in northern Europe could drop significantly, despite global warming, they added.

Scientists have long forecast that the Atlantic Conveyor that carries warm surface water north and cold deep water back to the equator could break down because of global warming.

According to the theory, rising air temperatures cause ice caps to melt, making the water less salty and therefore less dense so it can't sink and flow back south.

The scientists on Wednesday said this was the first time that observations had put flesh on the bones of the theory.

"This is the first time we have observed a change in the current on a human timescale," oceanographer Harry Bryden said, noting that it had completely shut down during the ice ages....
...The Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research has calculated that if the current stopped, temperatures in northern Europe could drop by up to six degrees centigrade in 20 years.

The latest figures, collated last year, are from a string of monitoring devices at various depths in the Atlantic from Morocco to Miami.

It was the fifth snapshot since 1957 taken in the same area of the temperatures and currents in shallow, mid and deep ocean.

While measurements in 1981 and 1992 had shown little change, those in 1998 and 2004 had shown a major shift, with less of the warming Gulf Stream getting up to Greenland and less of the cold, deep returning current coming back.

The so-called Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current is known as the Atlantic Conveyor, of which the Gulf Stream is the surface component.

"This is tantalizing evidence that there may be a large change in ocean circulation under way that paradoxically could cause regional cooling," said Phil Newton of Britain's independent Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)....

so apparently the correct term is "Atlantic Conveyer" and that is what is slowing down, or has slowed down noticeably since 1992-----during the past 10 or 20 years in other words.
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But then again what's new? : http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1094917


The Atlantic Conveyor May Have Slowed, But Don't Panic Yet
Richard A. Kerr

The ponderous churning of the North Atlantic Ocean that carries warm water northward and returns deep, cold water to the south appears to have slowed in the past decade or two. But the slowing is hardly larger than the uncertainty of the observations.

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