Let’s discuss geography

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by wegs, Aug 4, 2023.

  1. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    So, I have a globe on my work desk at home and noticed today, “North Equatorial current” and “South Equatorial current.”

    Are these “currents” mainly responsible for how significant or insignificant, a seasonal weather event may be for a particular region? With climate change causing harsher hurricanes and the erosion of Atlantic beaches for example, how does climate change tie in with the NEC and SEC?
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    The currents take warm water from the equatorial region to the polar region and colder water from the polar region to the mid-latitudes. So they have a moderating effect.

    They don't have anything to do with climate change but climate change effects the temperatures that they moderate.
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    A big concern is the looming collapse of the North Atlantic Gulf Stream.

    If it stops, the United Kingdom (and much of coastal US) is going to be plunged into an ice age.
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  7. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    As aforementioned, they're important, but ignorable in terms of current headline makers. Note that the original press release below got things right, but some secondary news reports about the research have apparently been conflating AMOC with the Gulf Stream.

    Scientists predict a collapse of the Atlantic ocean current to happen mid-century

    No, the Gulf Stream isn’t going to collapse

    KEY TAKEAWAYS: Should the Gulf Stream shut down, that would cause catastrophic cooling in Europe. But that’s not going to happen. The AMOC, however, could soon reach a tipping point. That would create a “cold blob” in the North Atlantic. That isn't as bad, but it also isn't good.

    EXCERPTS: There’s a perverse joy in reading (and writing) about catastrophic climate change. You could say that it’s a secular version of the yearning for the Apocalypse, and perhaps proof that such apocalyptic yearnings are more universally human than merely religious.

    [...] This particular slice of climate catastrophism goes like this: Due to an influx of cold water from Greenland’s rapidly melting ice cap, the Gulf Stream system, a conveyor belt for the warm waters that help moderate Europe’s climate, could collapse as early as 2025. As a result, average temperatures across much of the continent would drop catastrophically...

    [...] So far, so apocalyptic. Except that these reports are conflating two different ocean currents. Specifically, “they are confusing the Gulf Stream with the AMOC, or the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation,” writes Dr. Jonathan Foley, climate scientist and executive director of Project Drawdown. “[The Gulf Stream and AMOC] are not the same thing. Not at all. It’s like comparing a super highway with a side street.” (MORE - missing details)

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    (video link) Climate change won't stop the Gulf Stream. Here's why.

    VIDEO EXCERPTS (Sabine Hossenfelder): Okay, so now what’s with the supposed collapse of the Gulf Stream? Those headlines are based on a confusion between two different ocean currents, the Gulf Stream and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, AMOC for short. It’s also known as the Atlantic thermohaline circulation, different word, same thing, but not the same as the Gulf Stream.

    The AMOC is really a remarkably complex and super confusing network of circulations and not just one [...] The important point is now that the AMOC combines with the Gulf Stream, so that, in effect, the Gulf Stream is directed further North. The same thing does not happen in the Pacific Ocean.

    [...] So that’s the thing that everyone is worried about: that the AMOC will stop. However, this would not mean that the Gulf Stream would stop. The Gulf Stream is caused by the rotation of the earth. The only way to stop the Gulf Stream is quite literally to stop the Earth from turning. Even driving a pickup truck isn’t going to make that happen. And if the rotation of the earth really was to stop, trust me, you’d have better things to worry about than the Gulf Stream...

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2023
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  8. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    So, these currents basically “regulate” the Earth’s climate and ocean environments? After a bit more reading on this, they (the currents) redistribute heat away from the equator. I’ve read that they also transport nutrients to marine life. Interesting. I think the more common terminology I’ve heard is “trade winds,” when referring to this.
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Ocean currents trade winds
  10. ThazzarBaal Registered Senior Member

    I don't know, but Seattle sounds right.

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