is slowing down by record amounts. According to new research published in Nature, Atlantic Ocean currents have slowed by approximately 15 percent since the mid-twentieth century, marking the slowest it has been in the last 1,000 years. The AMOC plays an important role in regulating global climate, and it is perhaps not surprising that climate change makes the deceleration rate much more severe.
To put into perspective how strong a change of 15 percent is, the Atlantic Ocean has seen a decrease of approximately 3 million cubic meters of water per second, which is equal to the amount of water in 15 rivers of the Amazon .
There were two studies (both published in Nature) that addressed the issue in different ways. For the first study, the researchers examined the bottom sediments of the ocean, a reliable way to determine current strength because stronger currents can move larger grains of sediment further. The second study created advanced climate models and compared it to the sea temperature during the last hundred years.
There is some disagreement about when the problem first arose. The first study suggests that climate change was behind the phenomenon in the first place, with the AMOC weakening for the first time at the beginning of the industrial age in 1850.
While the second study suggests that this deceleration in the current did not begin until that the mid-twentieth century, although they claim that, naturally, was leaning down before climate change throw the trajectory even more.
Anyway, all the research seems to draw the same conclusions, and although the ocean currents will not cause the serious problems that led to the plot of The day after tomorrow, this is another potential step towards much bigger problems.