New Data Confirms Weakening Of The Gulf Stream
A new study in Geophysical Research Letters reveals that the Gulf Stream transport of water through the Florida Straits has weakened by some 4% over the past 40 years — more than what would be expected from random variations.
This research, which is based on a synthesis of thousands of data points collected from the Florida Straits, marks the first definitive evidence of a significant change in the current.
The Gulf Stream is a powerful ocean current off the East Coast of the US. It us a major component of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). The AMOC transports a vast volumes of seawater–and along with it heat, carbon, and other ocean constituents–around the Atlantic ocean. It is a key player in Earth’s climate system, influencing phenomena as seemingly unrelated as sea level along coastal Florida and temperature and precipitation over continental Europe.
A slew of recent studies have hinted that both the Gulf Stream and the AMOC are showing signs of weakening, which is cause for concern given their vital roles in regulating global and regional climates.
Europeans should be among the keenest to examine the recent findings, because without the AMOC’s constant conveyor belt of warmth it is theorized that the continent would be plunged into ice age conditions, practically overnight.
As explained by the study’s lead author, Chris Piecuch: This weakening of the Gulf Stream, a critical part of the AMOC, could have far-reaching implications, including changes in European surface air temperature and precipitation, shifts in coastal sea levels along the Southeastern US, and altered patterns of North Atlantic hurricane activity.
The study is comprehensive, too.
It employed Bayesian modeling techniques to combine data from undersea cables, satellite altimetry, and in-situ observations. This probabilistic approach allowed the researchers to articulate the uncertainty within the model, strengthening the study’s findings. The results consistently indicated a long-term weakening of the Gulf Stream, irrespective of which data sets were included or omitted from the analysis.
“This paper explicitly demonstrates the value of these long observing systems to tease out very subtle signals,” added Piecuch. “In this case, we showed that we needed more than 30 years of data.”
While the study provides strong evidence of weakening, it does not identify the cause.
Still, the study has been lauded as a significant milestone in oceanographic research.
Lisa Beal, co-author and a professor of Ocean Sciences at the University of Miami: “I have been studying western boundary currents–primarily the Agulhas Current off South Africa–for 30 years and it is only now that we are able to observe a robust trend in one of these extraordinarily dynamic systems.”
Many recent studies have concluded that the AMOC is weakening, though this paper is considered the first definitive evidence.
Moreover, many ‘guesses’ for the current’s collapse have been issued over the years, with the general consensus being ‘unlikely before the end of the century’. However, a new study in Nature, published July 25, 2023, marks the first time that researchers have attempted to pin down when the AMOC could stop working — anytime between 2025 and 2095, was their conclusion.
If the AMOC were to collapse the consequences would be cold, dire and far-reaching.
This evidence points to a weakening current, while the cycles suggest a return to the COLD TIMES is due. Is a stalling of the AMOC the key Earth-bound mechanism that gets us there, perhaps ‘helped’ by an immense freshwater discharge from the Beaufort Gyre?
Cold Returns To Antarctica
Despite the onset of spring, fierce cold has returned to Antarctica.
Temperature readings below -70C (-94F) have swept the Antarctic Plateau this week.
On Oct 1, Concordia Station bottomed-out at a very-frigid -70.8C (-95.4F), at 20:48 UTC — a reading not too far off the station’s coldest ever temperature in the month of October.
Antarctica’s late-season freeze extended through Monday and Tuesday, too.
On Oct 3, the minimum at Vostok crashed to -73.8C (-100.8F) which, although exceptionally cold for the time of year, is a reading a ways off the station’s lowest ever October temperature: the -79.4C (-110.9F) set just two years ago, on Oct 1, 2021 (immediately after what turned out to be Antarctica’s coldest ‘coreless winter’ (April-Sept) in recorded history).
Other recent anomalous values include: AGO-4’s -70.2C (-94.4F); Dome Fuji’s -69.1C (-92.4F); and nearby Dome CII’ AWS’s -69C (-92.2F).
The temperature of the lower atmosphere continued its rise in September.
But this is an anomalous spike, one driven by natural forcings such as the ongoing El Nino and the Hunga-Tonga eruption.
To argue otherwise leaves you with the challenge of explaining how at the start of the year we were below baseline (unless your argument is that ‘global warming’ commenced around June 2023).
This, for me, demonstrates the awesome power of nature; the unpredictability of it, too, particularly on the micro.
On the macro, nothing I’m seeing has me swaying from my calls for cooling. Solar activity is still trending down, and this dominant forcing will, in due time, win out — it will override the micro and drive global temperatures lower.
If anything, the wild temperature fluctuation of the past three-or-so months is solid proof that Mother Nature holds all the cards.
And to the alarmists: Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are not exponentially increasing. The CO2 argument, if you choose to employ it, isn’t based in logic. The ‘greenhouse gas’ that has fired higher, however–the far more potent GHG–is water vapor:
What this temporary temperature spike also does is buy us time, a little more time (maybe an extra half-a-year) to prepare for the coming cold, time to enjoy the final parabola of warming before the COLD TIMES inevitably kick in driven by a slumberous Sun:
“Nothing will avert the onset of the next deep temperature drop, the nineteenth in the last 7,500 years, which without fail follows after natural warming” — Dr. Habibullo Abdussamato, eminent Russian astrophysicist.