A critical system of Atlantic Ocean currents, responsible for transporting heat and salt through the global ocean, is showing signs of collapsing, according to a study published in Science Advances. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which has long been a concern due to its weakening strength by rising temperatures, could have devastating effects if it collapses completely.
The study predicts that Europe could see average temperatures decrease by 30 degrees Celsius over a century if the AMOC collapses. This could be felt within just decades, with February temperatures in Norway dropping by 3.5 degrees Celsius per decade. Rapid temperature changes pose significant challenges for adaptation measures, as scientists warn.
The Amazon rainforest is also expected to experience drastic changes in its precipitation patterns if the AMOC collapses. This could disrupt the forest ecosystem and lead to severe impacts on the Amazon rainforest.
In 2021, another study published by Nature Geoscience revealed that the AMOC was at its weakest point in the last 1,000 years. The potential collapse of this critical system is a matter of global concern, as Peter de Menocal of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts notes that it would affect every person on the planet and is of immense importance.