Topic: Currents and Ocean Circulation
Currents and Climate
- The North Atlantic Deep-Water conveyor belt has switched off and on in
the past. Periods when it has not operated seem to be associated with colder
climates, expecially in Europe. The change to a warmer climate takes place
abruptly when the conveyor is switched on.
- A change in climate induced by global warming leads to increased melting
of the Greenland ice sheet, which scientists theorize could lead to a large
influx of fresh water that:
- Might intensify the cold Labrador Current allowing it to push the warmer
Gulf Stream current further south and/or
- Create a decrease in water density, which could change the vertical
density gradient and affect thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic.