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Scientists detect sign that a crucial ocean current is near collapse

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece in The Washington Post or enjoy below 

🗞️ Driving the news: A recent Nature Communications study warns that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a crucial climate-regulating "tipping element," could approach a point of instability due to climate change by mid-century
• This event, which involves the transatlantic transport of warm and cold waters, could precipitate drastic and sudden shifts in climate should it collapse

🔭 The context: The AMOC, often referred to as the ocean's conveyor belt, is a major driver of the world's climate
• Rising global temperatures and the melting of Arctic ice have disrupted its function, injecting an influx of cold freshwater that could potentially shut it down

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: If climate change triggers the destabilization or cessation of the AMOC, the repercussions on global climate could be severe
• Such a shift could induce chillier conditions in Northern Europe, intensify heat in the tropics, and foster more potent storms along North America's East Coast

⏭️ What's next: There is still debate among scientists about the timeline and the likelihood of a total AMOC collapse
• Though the study presents a worrying outlook, it draws conclusions from historical data confined to a specific Atlantic region (experts thus advise prudence when interpreting these forecasts)
• However, here's a growing body of evidence that this critical ocean system is in peril

💬 One quote: "The scientific evidence now is that we can't even rule out crossing a tipping point already in the next decade or two," (Stefan Rahmstorf, oceanographer at the Potsdam Institute)

📈 One stat: Based on observations and research, the AMOC system is in its weakest state in more than 1,000 years. The study suggests that the AMOC could collapse anytime between now and 2095, possibly as early as 2025

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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