Tag Archives: Atlantic conveyor belt

The science remains uncertain

Two papers published this week by the American Geophysical Union once again indicate that the science of climate change remains exceedingly uncertain. More significantly, the models that try to predict the future of the Earth’s climate continue to appear unreliable, with such large margins of error that it is at this time foolish to make any policy based on their predictions.

diagram of Atlantic currents

The first paper took a close look at the deep water currents in the Atlantic to see if it could track changes to what the authors’ call the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), more generally referred to as the Atlantic conveyor belt. This conveyor belt begins with the sinking of salty dense water in the northeast Atlantic off of Europe and Africa. The deep water current then travels south and into the Indian and Pacific Oceans where it comes to the surface only to flow back to the Atlantic, traveling north along the coast of North America as the Gulf Stream, bringing with it the warm temperatures that make Europe’s climate much warmer than its latitude would normally suggest.

According to most global warming models, higher temperatures should cause the glaciers in the Arctic and Greenland to melt, thereby pouring an increased amount of fresh water into the North Atlantic. This infusion of fresh water is then expected to lower the salinity and density of the Atlantic water, thus preventing it from sinking and thus acting to slow the conveyor belt, and possibly even causing it to shut down. The consequence would be no more Gulf Stream to warm the climate of Europe.

In other words: Disaster! Death! Destruction! All caused by global warming!

Unfortunately for these global warming models, the paper above found no trend at all. The conveyor belt is not slowing, as predicted. To quote the paper’s abstract:
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