Sunday, September 28, 2014

While the Arctic is melting the Gulf Stream remains

A press release from the University of Bergen (Norway): The melting Arctic is not the source for less saline Nordic Seas. It is the Gulf Stream that has provided less salt. A new study published Sunday in Nature Geoscience documents that the source of fresher Nordic Seas since 1950 is rooted in the saline Atlantic as opposed to Arctic freshwater that is the common inference.

This is an important finding as it shows that the Gulf Stream is not about to short circuit. A halting Gulf Stream has been a concern with ongoing climate change; its collapse was taken to the extreme in the Hollywood blockbuster “The Day After Tomorrow”, says Tor Elde
vik, professor in oceanography at the University of Bergen and the Bjerknes Centre.

The Nordic Seas have freshened substantially since 1950. This has happened at the same time as there has been observed increased river runoff and net ice melting in the Arctic. The concurrence of a less saline ocean and Arctic freshwater input has given the climate research community reason for concern.

 It has been a concern that a layer of Arctic freshwater could impede the Gulf Stream’s Arctic branch. Going back in time – into and through ice ages – such a freshwater lid has been understood to reduce ocean circulation and thus the Gulf Stream’s poleward heat transport, says Tor Eldevik.

Eldevik is co-author of the study where Mirjam Glessmer and colleagues at the Bjerknes Centre in Bergen, Norway, show that change in the Nordic Seas is at the receiving end of change in the more global climate system. The Nordic Seas are in this case not a precursor in a real world parallel to “The Day After Tomorrow”....

Because the story is from Norway: a fjord. Shot by Karamell, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons 3.0 license

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