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Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)

Why is it in the news?

  • Recent studies suggest that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) faces a potential collapse between 2025 and 2095 due to the influence of anthropogenic emissions.
  • A collapse of the AMOC would disrupt the flow of warm and cold water within the Atlantic Ocean, potentially triggering significant climate impacts.
About AMOC

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 The AMOC is a system of ocean currents within the Atlantic Ocean that plays a crucial role in global climate regulation.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 It transports warm water from the tropics to the North Atlantic, where it releases heat to the atmosphere, moderating temperatures in Europe and North America.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Additionally, the AMOC transports cold water southward, completing a loop that helps regulate global climate patterns.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 The AMOC is part of the global conveyor belt, a system of ocean currents that circulates cool subsurface water and warm surface water worldwide. This circulation helps distribute heat around the globe, influencing climate patterns and weather systems.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 The entire cycle of the global conveyor belt, including the AMOC, operates on a slow timescale, with water taking approximately 1,000 years to complete its journey along the belt.

 

Impacts of AMOC Collapse

  • Widespread cooling in the northern hemisphere: Without the warm water transported by the AMOC, regions like Europe, North America, China, and parts of Russia could experience cooling temperatures.
  • Decreased precipitation: The disruption of ocean currents could lead to reduced precipitation in affected regions, impacting agriculture, water resources, and ecosystems.
  • Drought in the Amazon rainforest: The excess heat resulting from the collapsed AMOC could cause drought conditions in the Amazon rainforest, potentially leading to ecosystem shifts and biodiversity loss.
  • Impacts on monsoon systems: A slowdown or collapse of the AMOC could disrupt monsoon formation and rainfall patterns, affecting regions such as the Sahel in Africa and South Asia.
  • Cascading impacts on tipping elements: The collapse of the AMOC is considered a tipping element in Earth’s climate system, with potential cascading impacts on other critical systems, including ice sheet stability, ecosystem shifts, species loss, Arctic sea ice, and more.

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