The Gulf Stream is weakening as Greenland is melting. And as a result, we have to reckon with a new Ice Age, small or greater. This is shown by research, shared in the journal Nature .
Melting Greenland causes new ice age
The cause is clear, according to this report. Namely, the rapidly rising temperatures. Because these are melting the Greenland ice sheet. This causes fresh melt water to flow into the sea. And so dilutes the Warm Gulf Stream. Thus, the crucial part of the “conveyor belt” comes to a standstill. Namely, the sinking of the heavy, salty tropical waters of the Gulf Stream, which kept the current going. This weakens the Gulf Stream again. And thus ensures that Europe cools down.
Much Greenlandic ice melted in the Middle Ages as well. Therefore, this meltwater, climatologists think, weakened the Gulf Stream earlier. That was the cause of the Little Ice Age in the eighteenth century. And so, poorer harvests and more severe winters. And many paintings with ice fun.
Is history going to repeat itself?
And is that going to happen again? Yes, again, as new research from 2018 and 2020 shows. Not only did researchers find a blob of cold, sweeter meltwater in the Atlantic Ocean, which threatens to block the Gulf Stream . Another group also discovered higher salinity in the South Atlantic. Another proof that the Gulf Stream, which dilutes that salt water, is weakening .
1. Rahmstorf, S., Box, J., Feulner, G. et al. Exceptional twentieth-century slowdown in Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation. Nature Clim Change 5, 475–480 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2554
2. Caesar, L., Rahmstorf, S., Robinson, A. et al. Observed fingerprint of a weakening Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation. Nature 556, 191–196 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0006-5
3. Zhu, C., Liu, Z. Weakening Atlantic overturning circulation causes South Atlantic salinity pile-up. Wet. Clim. Chang. 10, 998–1003 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-0897-7