This slowdown threatens marine biodiversity and accelerates global warming.
Deep ocean currents speeding up from Antarctica’s ice melt is coming sooner than expected. According to a new study published Thursday, May 25 in the journal Nature Climate Change, this has been happening for decades “Ahead of Schedule”Threat to marine life and threat of accelerating global warming.
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Scientists have long warned that the acceleration of Antarctic ice melt and rising temperatures, driven by emissions of man-made greenhouse gases, will have a significant impact on ocean currents that carry nutrients, oxygen and carbon.
“Impacts of Climate Change Ahead”
A previous study using computer models suggested that the water cycle in the deepest parts of the oceans could decrease by 40% by 2050 if emissions were high. But this new study, based on observational data collected by hundreds of scientists over decades, shows that the process has actually already slowed by 30% between the 1990s and 2010s.
“Our data show that the impacts of climate change are ahead of schedule” said lead author Kathryn Gunn of Australia’s science agency CSIRO and Britain’s University of Southampton. “In a way, it’s not surprising that this is happening. But it’s time.” And, the scientist underlined.
As Antarctica’s deep ocean acts as a major “pump” for the global network of ocean currents, the impacts could be significant. “When ocean circulation slows, more carbon dioxide and heat remain in the atmosphere, accelerating global warming.”, Katherine Gunn explained to AFP. Oceans are an important climate regulator that absorbs large amounts of additional carbon that humans have released into the atmosphere since the mid-1800s, as well as more than 90% of the increase in global warming.
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