facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Slowing of Atlantic currents could bring changes in Europe's climate

Jan. 21, 2014 at 5:57 PM   |   Comments

READING, England, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Major currents in the North Atlantic Ocean seem to be slowing down, British researchers say, which could have major impacts on weather in the United Kingdom.

A recently measured slowdown of 10 to 15 percent may be part of larger decline that began in the 1990s and shows no sign of stopping yet, scientists at the University of Reading reported Tuesday.

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which brings warm tropical waters linked to the Gulf Stream up to the latitudes of Britain , is an important contributor to Europe's warm and temperate climate, they said.

This weakening of the AMOC is likely to cause a cooling of the North Atlantic Ocean, which has until recently been in a "warm" phase, and could cause a reversal of the recent pattern of wet summers in Britain, cause fewer Atlantic hurricanes, and potentially bring damaging droughts in the Sahel region of North Africa, the researchers said.

"There's lots of evidence that the AMOC is important for European climate, and seeing how these events unfold is a great opportunity to understand this influence better," Reading researcher John Robson said.

"In Britain we could see a return to drier summers, although it could also lead to more droughts in parts of Europe and Africa. However, there's quite a bit of uncertainty about how fast changes might happen, and other influences -- such as sea ice and greenhouse gases -- are also important."

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Featured UPI Collection
trending
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Curiosity rover escapes hidden Mars sand trap
2
Navy aviation tests combined unmanned, manned operations
3
Whale spotted in Virginia's Elizabeth River
4
Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg: I'll take the ice bucket challenge, and improve it
5
Latvia boasts world's first net for migrating bats
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback