Gulf Stream change spells more sea level danger

| 17/04/2018 | 47 Comments
Cayman News Service

Atlantic Gulf Stream

(CNS): Like many other low-lying countries around the world, the Cayman Islands is already on the front line when it comes to the threat of sea-level rise posed by climate change. But now scientists are raising concerns about another potential problem regarding sea levels on this side of the Atlantic caused by a dramatic slowing of the Gulf Stream. In the latest scientific research, experts warn that arctic melting is behind the decrease in the important climate phenomenon’s movement, which is expected to fuel more erratic weather around the world as well as more coastal erosion.

Research recently published in the science journal, Nature, by the University College London (UCL) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has found that the Atlantic Gulf Stream is at its weakest in more than 1,600 years. The research shows that the Gulf Stream has reduced in strength by around 15% since 1950, pointing to the role of human-made greenhouse gas emissions as the primary cause.

“The evidence we’re now able to provide is the most robust to date,” said Professor Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute, who conceived the study. “We’ve analysed all the available sea surface temperature datasets, comprising data from the late 19th century until the present.”

Peter Spooner, one of the authors from UCL, writing about the research online, said the weakening of the system may have started naturally but is probably being fuelled by climate change related to greenhouse gas emissions.

“This circulation is a key player in the Earth’s climate system and a large or abrupt slowdown could have global repercussions. It could cause sea levels on the US east coast to rise, alter European weather patterns or rain patterns more globally, and hurt marine wildlife,” Spooner said, adding that the speed of the change in the research results have come as a surprise to many, including him.

Known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), it is described by scientists as a giant conveyor belt of water. It transports warm, salty water to the north Atlantic, where it gets very cold and sinks. Once in the deep ocean the water flows back southwards and then all around the world’s oceans.

Scientists believe that severe weather events will increase as a result of the slowing of the important weather system, causing colder winters in the north, drought in the tropics, stronger storms and heatwaves, as well as coastal flooding around the world.

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Category: Science & Nature, Weather

Comments (47)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Water be coming up plenty fast when the side of that mountain breaks off in the Canary Islands and slides into the sea.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Announcement: for those concerned about climate change and rising seas, I AM PREPARED TO PURCHASE YOUR WATERFRONT PROPERTIES AT 1/100TH OF THE COST!
    please reply below this comment any one interested .

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Fake news. Donny whoppers, the most powerful (and most excellent) person in the most powerful country on the planet, says it’s fake. Who could know more than him?

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  4. Anonymous says:

    You’ll notice the rich folks are building hills to plant their homes and families on.

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  5. McCarron MCLAUGHLIN says:

    Bullshit junk science.

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  6. Larry says:

    Was planning to buy property in Cayman and then concluded to buy somewhere else instead. I just can see how Cayman will survive another major hurricane, much less the pending sea rise that will put much of Cayman under water. Already parts of the island flood every summer when the rain starts.

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  7. Patrick Duffy says:

    Maybe the CI Gov and Dart can work on a “Lost City of Atlantis” tourist attraction once Georgetown is underwater.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Rum Point is looking a bit precarious

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  9. Anonymous says:

    This phenomenon is already changing the migration patterns of pelagic (highly migratory) fish. The dolphin (mahi-mahi) fishing has been awful for the past few years and was highlighted even more by last weekends “Kirk Slam” fishing tournament where a total of 6 fish were weighed over 2 days of fishing by 30+ boats. Rewind 10 years and 1 boat would have been at the scales weighing over 6 fish each day.

    A popular marine artist/wannabe fisherman would have you believe the mahi are overfished, but I believe their migration patterns have just changed with the changing of the gulf stream current.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Think you’ll find it’s a combination of man made problems.

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      • Anonymous says:

        If that’s the case why are Mahi still jumping into the boat further north? There’s no shortage of the fish in the Atlantic as a whole, they just don’t migrate this far south anymore.

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        • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

          Maybe 3.15 pm the water is warmer, and the pelagic predators cannot properly manage their body temperatures when hunting prey, as they usually dive deep to cool down after hunting.

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          • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

            3 of you so far object to a little bit of marine science? Amazing! I cannot say go back to school, as you obviously were never there! IGNORANCE CONTINUED FOREVER.

      • Anonymous says:

        Care to provide examples?

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        • Anonymous says:

          If you choose to ignore the scientists who have mostly all come to the same conclusion then me wasting my time writing a list of examples is just that, a waste of my time.

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          • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

            Really excellent strawman argument. I haven’t seen such a sweeping generalisation combined with an Appeal To Authority (another logical fallacy) in quite some time.

            So, anyone who disagrees with your uniformed opinion is just double-dog wrong, aren’t they. SMH.

            I would love to debate this with you in a formal setting with established procedure, rules of decorum and debate.

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    • Anonymous says:

      maybe stop killing fish for sport….its 2018.

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    • Anonymous says:

      No mon…Bobo go out & im catch plenty plenty dolfin, mon… slackem’ boss.

    • Anonymous says:

      Guy Harvey a wannabe fisherman? Whatever your opinion of the man he grew up fishing, his father owned a charter boat, he has competed and won prizes in countless fishing tournaments, he earned a First Class Honours science degree at a first rate UK university and has a PhD in Fisheries Sciences. That was all before he became a well known artist.

      Your qualifications?

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s probably also the reason we get so much more sargassum sea weed these days too and why we don’t get nor’ westers anymore.

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    • Anonymous says:

      With the increase in sargassum weed over the last few years the mahi are not as easy to find. The currents this year are a bit further south and west of us than normal. Not sure if thats an effect of warming. The amount of small schoolie dolphin around has been more than i remember and should be a good thing for the future

  10. Bertie :B says:

    But Trump claims climate change is a Chinese hoax ? the man who has sex with porn stars without protection , then goes home to his wife . Genius ! Oh and he never lies lol .

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  11. Anonymous says:

    climate change is beyond the comprehension of the average caymanian. the compass still says ‘we shouldn’t care because we can’t make a difference……
    rising sea levels has been talked about for generations….when was the last time you heard a caymanian politician mention it??????

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Cue all the weather “experts” with no experience who challenge things they know nothing about which have been studied by experienced and well trained scientists.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Guess we won’t need the cruise dock?

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