Accelerated Ocean Currents Show Crisis Is Getting Faster
Climate change models predicted ocean currents would speed up — but not this soon; Ocean currents are the undersea conveyor belts that help regulate Earth's climate and influence weather systems around the world.
Denise Chow, February 11, 2020 (NBC News)
“Ocean currents — undersea conveyor belts that help regulate Earth's climate and influence weather systems around the world — have been speeding up over the past two decades as the planet warms…The puzzling discovery…highlights that climate change could have wide-ranging effects that are unexpected or severely understudied…Climate models had predicted that ocean circulation would accelerate with unmitigated climate change, but the changes had not been expected until much later this century…[This] suggests that some climate models may underestimate the effects of global warming…
[C]urrents in three-quarters of the world's oceans have accelerated [by 36 percent since the early 1990s], driven primarily by faster, more intense winds…Ocean currents form a complex web of underwater highways that move water and heat around the globe. Warm water funneled by currents from the equator to the poles, for example, helps regulate land temperatures and drive weather systems…Scientists have observed an increase in the intensity of surface winds, combined with a steady rise in greenhouse gas emissions, since the 1990s…[The exact links] are still unknown…[but] major impacts on fisheries could have cascading effects up and down the food chain, with impacts on countries and communities that depend on fishing…” click here for more