Atlantic conveyor belt – still going strong and will be the day after tomorrow

The Gulf Stream does not appear to be slowing down, say US scientists who have used satellites to monitor tell-tale changes in the height of the sea.

Confirming work by other scientists using different methodologies, they found dramatic short-term variability but no longer-term trend.

A slow-down – dramatised in the movie The Day After Tomorrow – is projected by some models of climate change.

The research is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The stream is a key process in the climate of western Europe, bringing heat northwards from the tropics and keeping countries such as the UK 4-6C warmer than they would otherwise be.

It forms part of a larger movement of water, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which is itself one component of the global thermohaline system of currents.

Between 2002 and 2009, the team says, there was no trend discernible – just a lot of variability on short timescales.

The satellite record going back to 1993 did suggest a small increase in flow, although the researchers cannot be sure it is significant.

“The changes we’re seeing in overturning strength are probably part of a natural cycle,” said Josh Willis from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.

“The slight increase in overturning since 1993 coincides with a decades-long natural pattern of Atlantic heating and cooling.”

Short measures

The first observations suggesting the circulation was slowing down emerged in 2005, in research from the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC).

Using an array of detectors across the Atlantic and comparing its readings against historical records, scientists suggested the volume of cold water returning southwards could have fallen by as much as 30% in half a century – a significant decline.

The surface water sinks in the Arctic and flows back southwards at the bottom of the ocean, driving the circulation.

However, later observations by the same team showed that the strength of the flow varied hugely on short timescales – from one season to the next, or even shorter.

But they have not found any clear trend since 2004.

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Read the rest of the story at the BBC here

Or feel free to laugh at this movie:

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76 thoughts on “Atlantic conveyor belt – still going strong and will be the day after tomorrow

  1. Holy crap – now I understand it all. I’ll be damned – it’s nature – this marble is both our savior and our executioner. I think I’ll finish this beer and see if the sun rises tomorrow.

    Somehow, I suspect the dreaded CO2 is the villain here – or is it? Bwhaaa

  2. Greenies watch a movie like “The Day After Tomorrow”, then afterwards have difficulty separating fact from fantasy, and science from science fiction.

  3. I think toyotawhizguy is on to something.
    All stimuli impress the young mind. Including silly movies.

  4. These must not be post-modern scientists. They don’t know how to hide the lack of a trend or “the trick” to show one eists.

  5. That trailer for the Day after Tomorrow was 2 minutes taken from my timespan that I will never recover. Fantasy, pure fantasy, and not even with the excuse of being amusing fantasy or a good action movie. No wonder the AGW crowd preach unremitting doom if this is a sample.

    Oh, yes, I do happen to be a Geologist.

  6. Ever since Channel 4 UK has been told by the gov that they should accept some taxpayer funding (don’t ask why when they are doing fine) they have gone AGW on us. Before they showed us Matt Durkin’s documentary, then were forced to put a disclaimer before the programme. Afterwards they ran a double bill of Al Gore’s scifi comedy horror lecture WITHOUT a disclaimer despite a UK High Court ruling and topped it off with this scifi comedy horror Day After Tomorrow.

  7. I note that the IJIS arctic extent has taken a major climb upwards and is in reach of being the highest since 2002 (as far back as is graphed). Interestingly all the other plots had long since peaked and were on the way down by now. Not bad given that the zero thermometers up there have been extrapolated as running several degrees warmer than the past in the last few months.

  8. Shouldn’t there be a collective sigh of relief and wide spread celebration with sailors kissing nurses like on V-E Day?

  9. The Gulf Stream part is well covered in the Telegraph;

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/7536760/Gulf-Stream-is-not-slowing-down-scientists-claim.html

    Dr Josh Willis, from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, said:
    “The changes we’re seeing in overturning strength are probably part of a natural cycle.
    The slight increase in overturning since 1993 coincides with a decades-long natural pattern of Atlantic heating and cooling.”

    Natural cycles. A very dull but honest conclusion. It must be so tempting for some scientists to “detect” an exciting trend – which will demand further funding.

  10. The stream is a key process in the climate of western Europe, bringing heat northwards from the tropics and keeping countries such as the UK 4-6C warmer than they would otherwise be.

    That’s where I live. Whomever might have written that sentence is a Climate illiterate.

  11. It would be an ‘easy job’ if it was as simple as that. The Arctic Ocean has one of the more complex current systems, which is greatly affected by the inflow of fresh waters mainly from the great rivers of Siberia. In addition it has an ‘intriguing’ variation in the Geomagnetic field, which ‘as it happens’ matches closely changes in the North Atlantic temperature anomaly.
    I have done sweep of the GMF along the route of the crucial Transpolar current confirming the ‘ temperature correlation’.

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC16.htm

  12. I’m sitting here watching the totally unseasonal snow blizzard outside, still waiting for the first daffodil of spring, remembering what my mum said when I joked: “I blame global warming”.

    She said: “Of course climate change can cause colder weather as well!”

    The fact is that the myth of the “gulf stream” ending has meant even well educated normally quite sensible people have been able to reconcile the exceptionally cold winter in the UK with “global warming”: the CRU claims that “in a few years kids won’t know what snow is”.

    It will now be obvious to everyone that the failure of the CRU to predict climate related weather (snow) in the UK has nothing to do with the slowing of the North Atlantic drift and everything to do with the utter abysmal failure of the science underpinning these climate forecasters.

  13. “The stream is a key process in the climate of western Europe, bringing heat northwards from the tropics and keeping countries such as the UK 4-6C warmer than they would otherwise be.”

    Utter nonsense. It is the southwesterlies from the atlantic that keep the winters relatively mild. Ocean temperatures will always be a few degrees above freezing at those latitudes regardless of the gulf stream.

  14. The two captions on the diagram which state, “Heat released to atmosphere” at the beginning of the the blue “Deep cold current” are wrong. These two places are where cold saline water sinks to the sea floor, not where heat is released in significant amounts. The area where heat is released to the atmosphere is in the north-west Atlantic at the end of the red “Shallow warm current”, as correctly shown there.

    What this evidence does not address is whether the reports that in summer 2009, “for reasons unknown, the Gulf Stream slowed down,” (see mysearchfortruth’s link above) had anything to do with this winter’s unusual cold in Europe and eastern USA.

    The evidence is of “fluctuations in conveyor flow in the space of a year” that are large relative to any longer-term trend. But that longer-term trend has only been measured for a couple of decades at most – that is not very long. We really do not know what the long-term trend (if any) is, nor do we appear to know much about the effects of short-term variations the Gulf Stream on short-term variations in weather around the North Atlantic.

  15. I’ve been unsure about the role of the Atlantic Gulf Stream in keeping Europe warm ever since I saw a reference to Seager’s paper on Junkscience. What do people think of Seager’s paper in the Royal Meteorological Society Journal..”Is the Gulf Stream Responsible for Europe’s Mild Winters?” -a paper that strongly challenges the global warming claim that global warming could trigger a collapse in temperatures across western Europe due to collapse of the Gulf Stream .

    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/gs/pubs/Seager_etal_QJ_2002.pdf

    A more popular/reader friendly version here:

    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/gs/pubs/Seager_AmSci_2006.pdf

    It says that the main source of Europe’s mild climate is not the Gulf Stream as previously thought. The Pacific Ocean’s version of the gulf stream, the “Kuroshio current” does not reach as far as the northern latitiudes of Washington and British Columbia in north-west America. Yet the climate there is mild compared to similar latitudes in east asia on the west side of the Pacific such as Vladivostok. So something other than the Pacific Gulf Stream is keeping these latitidues in North America milder. It turns out the warmer climates on the east side of the Atlantic and Pacific could be due to heat transfer from prevailing winds off the ocean, rather than the ocean currents themselves bringing in warm water ..This means we are not going to crash into an ice-age due to any potential breakdown of the atlantic conveyor …
    The only thing I noticed wasn’t mentioned in the Seagar paper is the Jet Stream – a significant factor? After all, wasn’t this winter’s cold snap in the UK in part due to the Jet Stream moving south?
    Maybe ‘prevailing winds’ (as discussed by Seager) and ‘jet stream’ could be treated as the same.
    Any thoughts?

  16. I enjoyed the film “The day after tomorrow” but had to suspend my disbelief from start to finish. I mean how likely is it that Mexico would accept several tens of millions of refugees from the USA? :)

  17. A post from October last year showed that in the Barents sea, at 100-150 m depth, the sea temperature fluctuated by up to 4 deg C over the last century in a wave-like manner, in close correlation with the AMO (Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation).

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/08/new-paper-barents-sea-temperature-correlated-to-the-amo-as-much-as-4%C2%B0c/#more-11592

    The Barents sea is at the tail end of the North Atlantic Drift.

    The large magnitude (4 deg c) of the measured Barents sub-surface (100-150m) temperature variation – and the energy exchange required to cause this – is unlikely to have come from surface heat exchange – it is more consistent with an ocean current phenomenon.

    The most likely explanation – as I have posted here before – is that the AMO is characterised by an oscillation in the strength of the North Atlantic Drift.

    In the context of the Meridional Overturning circulation that links the N Atlantic Drift to the Southstream deep current, variations in the volume of downwelling in the Norwegian Sea – one of the drivers of thermohaline global circulation – would reflexively cause corresponding variation in the North Atlantic Drift.

    This variation, as indicated in the Barents Sea subsurface measurements, might also be a major factor in the decrease in Arctic ice cover up to 2007 and the current recovery of the Arctic ice, which could thus be expected to continue for a few decades.

  18. The climate change bureaucracy grows like Topsy, reaching its tentacles into our everyday lives.

    In the People’s Republic of Islington, the council advertised for a ‘Carbon Reduction Adviser’ for £30,000 a year. The advert read: “Islington Council is leading the way in tackling climate change”. You could have fooled me. Islington may be leading the way in vindictive parking enforcement, stabbings, street crime, graffiti and child molestation in council care homes. But saving the planet?

    Meanwhile, in Tower Hamlets, the poorest borough in London and arguably the most deprived in Britain, 58 employees have job titles which contain the words “climate change” or “global warming”. When Bedford Borough Council advertised for a “Climate Change Officer” the perks included an “essential car user allowance”. You couldn’t make it up. Yet when floods swept many parts of the country a couple of summers ago, all these climate champions proved to be utterly, hopelessly, bloody useless. When the heavens opened, it was the same old story, just as it is when it snows in the winter. No evacuation plans, no flood defences, simply the usual headless-chicken-like incompetence.

    This is the latest shot from the government, in their “fight against climate change” from the Telegraph:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7535304/Climate-change-is-the-new-health-and-safety.html

    ***************************************************************************

    Climate change is the new health and safety

    All public bodies should have a legal duty to protect their workers from climate change in the same way as institutions currently carry out health and safety checks, according to the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.

    Louise Gray
    30 Mar 2010

    The body set up to warn Government about the risk of environmental disasters said climate change will cause floods, droughts and heatwaves in future.

    In a key report on “Adapting Institutions to Climate Change” the committee of experts recommended that every school, hospital and business should have a legal duty to adapt to climate change. For example by putting in place flood defences and plans for water shortages.

    Sir John Lawton, Chairman of the Royal Commission, said global warming is a real risk and could cause huge problems for Britain. He said all businesses and public bodies should have to carry out a “climate change adaptation test” in the same way as they currently conduct health and safety checks. “The planet is already slightly above the worse case scenario so if we do nothing we could be looking at a temperature rise of 4C (7.3F) by 2100,” he said. “Any society confronted with those kind of dramatic changes to their climate would be very wise to take due attention to the risk that poses to society, infrastructure and people’s lives and begin to plan accordingly. That should become central because just like health and safety scenarios – where people are going to get killed or injured – people are going to get killed or injured by climate change and that is why it is important.”

    But Sir John said that adapting to climate change will not cost organisations extra money or add bureaucracy. Instead, he insisted that it could be done by simply ensuring that things are done differently. “We have to accept that there is a real risk of [climate change] devastating people’s lives so it is a sensible thing to think about, rather than another layer of bureaucracy for bureaucracy’s state,” he said.
    ***************************************************************************

    Meanwhile, in the same paper, is a report that in spite of a commitment to eradicate fuel poverty the number of people affected by fuel poverty has DOUBLED. Fuel povery is defined as spending more than 10% of your income on heating bills.

    “Millions struggle to heat homes as Government misses fuel poverty target”

    “Millions of vulnerable people remain in fuel poverty despite a multi-billion spending scheme to help elderly people heat their homes, MPs have warned.”

    Read the whole article here

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/7535263/Millions-struggle-to-heat-homes-as-Government-misses-fuel-poverty-target.html

    ***************************************************************************

    The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution is part of the British government’s global warming lying propaganda machine which treats the public as gullible fools, so please feel free to correct their perception.

    The RCEP website is http://www.rcep.org.uk/index.htm

    Anyone wishing to contact them can do so here: enquiries@rcep.org.uk

  19. In the days when the BBC were unappologetic supporters of AGW (it might be nice, given the Law and Ordeer episode with the climategate reference, to track back into the BBC archives to find the earliest reference to climate change in BBC programs, both factual and fictional – it certainly goes back a long way and it wouldn’t surprise me to find references in cotume frama as well) they did allow to slip through the net an article about the Gulf Stream stopping.
    Not sure why.
    The scare that AGw would cause the gulf stream to stop was being given some prominence then and this report was that a team of scientists had been examining sea shells on the sea floor (couldn’t resist, sorry, but it is a fair description).
    The import of their study was that from the shells they were able to infer that the Gulf Stream had stopped several times before.
    I think they meant before man arrived on the scene, so not due to AGW.
    Somehow I wasn’t sure they had let this through because it showed that the gulf stream can reverse and hence the scare about AGW caused stoppage was possible or whether it meant that Gulf Stream failuree could be a purely natural phenomena.
    Tough call and thee usual response would have been to bury the story. Don’t know why they didn’t.

    I did a seach and found what I think is the radio show I heard. I was surprised to see it is from 2003 but I think it is the one. Perhaps theere was another though I doubt the Beeb would slip up twice on the same story.

    Here is that interesting interview “The Big Chill”.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2003/bigchilltrans.shtml

    “NARRATOR: In the search for answers they turned to the sun, our ultimate source of heat. They discovered that the pattern of ice ages matched strange wobbles in the earth’s orbit around the sun. These altered how the sun’s heat shone upon the earth. They allowed the ice to grow and retreat.”

    Oops! where’s the AGW?

  20. This story is a couple of weeks old (MeteoGroup). When a previously rare event becomes more commonplace it may be a signal for warming or cooling, or perhaps neither. Coincidences do happen.

    ‘Also last week a very rare subtropical cyclone formed in the South Atlantic just east of Brazil. This is a highly unusual spot for such storms to develop, and it was one of only six in recorded history in the South Atlantic Basin. However, as recently as 2004 a much stronger cyclone brewed up in the same place and became known as Cyclone Catarina – thought at the time to be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.’

  21. Prof Walley Broeker is deescribed in the transcript as the “Guru” of climate science, a claim repeated on the university website.

    http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/articles/view/2246

    In the transcript he basically says what this story says; very preditcable long term trends with dramatic short term events where it is as if a switch has been flipped.
    Importantly this is where it is suggested that the Gulf Stream has been switched of on on again in the past.
    All natural.
    However, it is apparent that Prof Broecker is a leading AGW advocate, which may explain why we were allowed to know this.
    So, if these things can happen and have happened, why are we more likely to influence these events than nature?

  22. As long as the earth spins the mountains will stir the atmosphere
    and the undersea mountains and the continents will stir the oceans.
    Consider the shore lines, the direction the earth spins, and some places
    look like a plow pulled through mud.
    As lolng as the earth spins, there will be currents.

  23. I see the true believers are still hoping that they can turn the annual variability of the Gulf Stream into yet another fear relic to flog up more belief in AGW.
    The important thing is that this was one of the linchpins of the apocalyptic nature of AGW. If CO2 could stop the Gulf Stream, then a disaster would hit northern Europe, etc.
    It was always bogus junk, and any reasonable person knew it.
    The promoter behind this was mentioned at Andy Revkin’s whitewash of this.

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/heat-toting-ocean-currents-chugging-along/

    Now Joshua Willis, the con-artist who promoted this baseless fear, is pretending that he has kept up to date with the collapse of his prediction. And of course Revkin does a bit of hand wringing about how wicked denialists will use this latest failure of AGW theory as evidence of failure of AGW theory.
    How many false predictions of apocalypse will have to occur before AGW believers serious question of their favorite theory?

  24. vukcevic (01:07:27) :We live in an electric universe, sitting on a cathode, surprised why currents originate and neglecting its existence because the church of the settled science denies it.

  25. The following is from an artice in the Norwegian newspaper VG – 25.03.1999:

    http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/artikkel.php?artid=49577

    This is a Google translation with minor gramatical changes.

    - The Gulf Stream has narrowed dramatically

    Russian observations of the Norwegian Sea show that the Gulf Streams width is reduced by half since 1960.

    The consequences can be dramatic: Among other things, the climate can be affected.

    The observations are made over much of this century by the Russian marine research institute Pinro in Murmansk, and are now analyzed by the Norwegian marine scientists.

    The reason for the dramatic narrowing the Gulf Stream seems to be that since 1960 it has blown more and more from the west – and the large amount of westerly winds that now blows the Gulf Stream along and pushes it more and more towards the Norwegian coast.

    Modified route

    This emerges from an article Oceanographers Johan Blindheim and Svein Østerhus in Bergen has developed in collaboration with a Russian colleague. The article will be published in the international marine research journal Deep Sea Research.

    The narrow Gulf Stream does not entirely follow the same route as before, when parts of it swung from west off the Norwegian coast.

    - Now it goes to a greater degree right into the Arctic Ocean. This has led to the water layer between 200 and 400 meters in the Arctic Ocean has risen by one degree. It is a lot, said Oceanographer Svein Østerhus.

    Two years ago, the remarkable Russian measurements were presented for Oceanographer Johan Blindheim.

    - When I saw the trend, I decided to do moe research on why the Gulf Stream has narrowed.

    Narrows

    - Our work includes the fact that we have compared the Russian measurements of the width of the Gulf Stream with pressure differences between the Azores and Iceland. Big difference for many westerly winds, little difference for low westerly winds, “says Blindheim.

    - Our measurements show that the Gulf Stream narrows while the pressure difference across the seas rising.

    From 1960, the pressure difference between Iceland area and Portuguese Azores doubled 15 times. Air pressure may be set in millibar, and normal pressure is 1013 millibar.

    - We had an average difference in air pressure in 1960 on two millibar. At the end of the 80s is the pressure difference in the winter on the 30 millibar. This explains why it is blowing more steadily throughout this sea area. Now we also see that the air amount is significant for the Gulf Stream, or the Atlantic Ocean current, as we call it.

    Concerned

    In 1960, the width of the Gulf Stream in the Norwegian Sea was approximately 570 kilometres. Up until 1990 the width was reduced to less than half – down to the 270 kilometres.

    - I understand that the amount of air leads to a compressed Atlantic Power. But I do not understand why pressure differences have increased, said Oceanographer Johan Blindheim.

    The increased flow of warm Atlantic water into the Arctic Ocean worries Oceanographers:

    - If this continues, it will mean increased melting of sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean. If the ice here melts, the Gulf Stream have set in motion a process which further increases the temperature in the Arctic Ocean – because when the sun will come into ply. Today ice stops the solar heat from reaching the Arctic Ocean. Without this ice is the insulation is gone, and we could get major changes, says Oceanographer Svein Østerhus.

  26. In reply to mysearchfortruth:

    “But this summer, for reasons unknown, “the Gulf Stream slowed down,” Edwing said, sending water toward the coasts—and sea levels shooting upward.

    Adding to the sustained surge, autumn winds from the northeastern Atlantic arrived a few months early, pushing even more water coastward.”

    Gee “for reasons unknown” sounds like incredibly robust science, especially compared to the article above. Perhaps you should search for truth somewhere other than the pages of National Geographic.

    As the above article clearly states, there can be great variations in the Gulf Stream from ONE SEASON TO THE NEXT, and it is all part of natural variability. I do not see where your National Geographic article contradicts that conclusion in any way whatsoever to be honest.

  27. Global “Warming” or Global “Cooling” isn’t the “Problem”. MONA – Mother Nature – will do her thing, whichever, whenever, however, to whoever, etc. All the screaming and hollering is about the impact on “people”. At Six Billion Plus, people are going to take it in the ear, and the backside, one day, probably sooner than later, and we all know it (don’t we?). In the bell curve of ‘people-types’ there is the vast majority who will adjust to whatever happens and help whoever they can whenever possible, there are also the two extremes of people (the wierdos). Regardless of which way Mona throws the dice, in a way, big climate change makes for big impact on the ‘Carbon Units’ infesting Planet Earth and “THAT’S” the issue; true, for some it’s just an interesting ‘academic’ discussion, they want to know how she’s going to do it, and when, etc. “The Unknown” is sooooo interesting.

  28. Shouldn’t the blue tails of the arrows in the chart read “Heat absorbed from the atmoshere”, rather than “Heat released to the atmosphere”?

  29. Apart from the Gulf Stream not slowing down and picking up a little other research suggests that its warming influence is largely a myth.

    “This idea was actually originated by an American military man, Matthew Fontaine Maury, in the mid nineteenth century and has stuck since despite the absence of proof.”
    ……
    “We now know this is a myth, the climatological equivalent of an urban legend. In a detailed study published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society in 2002, we demonstrated the limited role that ocean heat transport plays in determining regional climates around the Atlantic Ocean.”
    Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/gs/

    ——————

    MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW September, 1900

    “By itself alone the Gulf Stream has as much effect on the climate of northwestern Europe as the fly in the fable had in carrying the stagecoach up the hill.”
    …….
    “The mild climate of northwestern Europe is due, not to the Gulf Stream, but to the prevailing eastward and northeastward drift of the cir- cumpolar atmospheric circulation, whose aerial currents, and not the Gulf Stream, distribute the heat conserved by the whole Atlantic Ocean north of latitude 35O (roughly) over Europe.”

    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=res-loc&uri=urn:noaa:pdf:file:mwr-028-09-0393.pdf

  30. If ‘global Warming’ is causing changes to the Gulf Stream… (IF), and this is causing all our lovely snow; what caused all the cold weather in continental Europe and beyond? What has caused the very cold winter in Mongolia, with the deaths of countless numbers of livestock? Why has much of North America had such a cold winter?

  31. According to Bill Gray, that “short term variability” is linked to the AMO and Atlantic Hurricane Activity.

  32. “there was no trend discernible – just a lot of variability on short timescales.”

    Too bad climate “scientists” aren’t willing to make the same claim for temperatures.

  33. The Gulf Stream does not appear to be slowing down, say US scientists who have used satellites to monitor tell-tale changes in the height of the sea.

    As is usual with such grandiose pronouncements by scientists or press release writers, we know nothing about what the Gulf Stream may have done beyond our very narrow time window under which it’s been studied. Thus, no pronouncements about what may be “normal” or “catastrophic” can be made with any credibility.

  34. As long as the earth spins the mountains will stir the atmosphere
    and the undersea mountains and the continents will stir the oceans.
    Consider the shore lines, the direction the earth spins, and some places
    look like a plow pulled through mud.
    As lolng as the earth spins, there will be currents.

    I would add that as long as the continents remain in their current (no pun intended, well, maybe a little) configuration, there will be a Gulf Stream. If Central America were to disappear or the isthmus break apart, the currents could change dramatically.

  35. So essentially the Earth rotates, and the oceans follows as best its viscosity allows it to keep up and all the while with a little disturbance from the ever so pesky tiny speck of a body called the moon, so what ever drives the rotation drives the oceans which drives our current type of climate.

    So, if the earth moves and the oceans follows, but by how much when the earth moves a little extra say due to tectonic shifts? Is there any study, preferably with some proper non linear math, that has tried to tell such a story, is what I’m wondering, because what happens to zillions of gallons of water when you have enough force to be able to disturb it, even the slightest.

  36. Al Cooper 05:20:06:

    “As long as the Earth spins the mountains will stir the atmosphere…”

    And as long as the sun shines the Tropics will be warmer than the Poles. And as long as we have air and liquid water there will be a natural distribution of heat from the Equator towards the Poles. If the Gulf Stream stopped something else would have to start up in its place, so I worry not, even though I live at the South-Western extremity of the UK.

  37. This is very interesting to me. Having enjoyed yacht racing since 1970, I have always tried to consider tides and currents. On a smaller note, even a home water heater has a large differential between the bottom and the top when hot water rises.
    It is my understanding that they can not come close to measuring the actual and accurate increases of currents.
    Between wind changes, pressure changes and different flows at different levels of the ocean, the number of sensors would be incredible.

  38. It seems that the gulf current (now with cold anomaly=blue color) now it goes straight to the UK.

  39. This is one thing that really ticks me off about the AGW bandwagon. People in authority trying to sound scientifically knowledgeable repeat these ideas (i.e. ocean currents being disrupted by reduced salinity) as if they are definitely occuring and then take that supposition and attach any number of other suppositions of dire consequences.

    Here you will see Bill Nye reputedly authoritative on AGW spouting this nonsense. Fortunately Lindzen shuts him down in this piece.

  40. Ralph (03:33:09) :

    “There will always be people in this world that live by “gloom and doom” prophesy.”

    Revelations was the start of it…

  41. Justa Joe (06:35:14) :

    “The Day After Tomorrow” was the brainchild of UFO nuts, Whitley Streiber & Art Bell.

    Yes, and a more suspect pair I have never known. Except possibly Jones and Mann. At least Strieber and Bell could be somewhat entertaining…
    This one’s for you, John Daly..

  42. So how is it that the warm surface gulf stream suddenly stops up off Norway; all that water must be piling up something fierce.

    Then there’s some sort of artesian well off Greenland that is spewing out cold water from nowhere.

    Seems to me to be some sort of continuity discontinuity.

  43. @Enneagram

    ‘Henry chance (08:14:47) :

    …the number of sensors would be incredible
    Not too many, a humble pendulum would make it. See the graph on page 50:
    ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/005/y2787e/y2787e08.pdf
    Temperatures change with LOD, of course this in turn changes with the Sun cycles.’

    I think the correct phrase is a pendulum could do it, since mr Henry chance is asking for an explanation.

    Oh yeah and if you happen to make time to direct the rest of us to a proper page that explains how a pendulum does explain the oceans’ currents’ instead of some “pesky” astro physics stuff, by all means, please do.

  44. Vincent (01:43:02) : | Reply w/ Link

    “The stream is a key process in the climate of western Europe, bringing heat northwards from the tropics and keeping countries such as the UK 4-6C warmer than they would otherwise be.”

    Utter nonsense. It is the southwesterlies from the atlantic that keep the winters relatively mild. Ocean temperatures will always be a few degrees above freezing at those latitudes regardless of the gulf stream.

    I think you are right. The winter temperatures vary a lot over here, over short timescales and from winter to winter. When the winds come from the south west, we get mild & wet weather. This year it was mostly the other way around, cold. The gulf stream hasn’t changed.

    There was an interesting article in American Scientist some years ago (10?), discussing this. I believe it said that without the gulf stream it would become slightly colder in Europe, but no ice-age disaster.

  45. Amino Acids in Meteorites (00:51:19) :

    OT, but I have to know:

    can the science minds here explain why Arctic ice just hit its maximum today, march 29?? Or is it an optical illusion? Even if it isn’t maximum why is it going up this much this late in March?


    Amino Acids in Meteorites, try this link and read the discussion/comments involving 15% vs 30% ice…just some thoughts/hypotheses, but may answer your question.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/25/arctic-sea-ice-continues-to-rise-past-the-normal-peak-date/

    -Scott

  46. George E. Smith (11:28:13) :
    “So how is it that the warm surface gulf stream suddenly stops up off Norway; all that water must be piling up something fierce. ………………”

    That chart is incomplete (or inaccurate ) . More accurate chart of the Arctic currents is shown here: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC16.htm

    Enneagram (05:49:35) :
    “…..”
    I do not subscribe to EU hypothesis, at least not as I understand it.

    John from CA (07:30:19) :
    “Great charts vukcevic”

    Thanks, just trying to show what happens to be there.
    Changes of GMF in the arctic are result of a rebalance between two prongs of North (or if you whish to be correct South) magnetic pole, one located in the area of Hudson Bay and the other in the Central Siberia, both at about 60 degrees north and almost 180 degrees apart. The NA temperature anomaly trend appears to be defined by the maximum value of GMF as shown here:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC21.htm

  47. “”” vukcevic (13:37:13) :

    George E. Smith (11:28:13) :
    “So how is it that the warm surface gulf stream suddenly stops up off Norway; all that water must be piling up something fierce. ………………”

    That chart is incomplete (or inaccurate ) . More accurate chart of the Arctic currents is shown here: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC16.htm “””

    Is it ok if I favoritized your site Vukcevic ? some nice graphs and information there. Nice to see the water chugging on past the Norwegian coast.

    Thanx.

  48. Ralph

    ‘There will always be people in this world that live by ‘doom and gloom’ prophesy’

    To prophesy is the verb, the noun is prophecy. Also it should be ‘people … who’ not ‘that’. WUWT sets a high standard of grammer – not.

    ‘There will always be’ – sounds like you’re a bit of a prophet yourself; got any good recipes for locusts and honey?

  49. Thermohaline circulation is, by definition, density-driven–and painfully slow. The Gulf Stream, along with all the major surface currents, is wind-driven. The winds themselves, which draw heat from the oceans, are fastest of all! As long as the Earth spins and the Sun shines, we’re going to to have wind-driven global circulation. It’s sad to see skeptics conflating one with the other and accepting THC as the central player in heat distribution around the globe. Everyone competent in oceanography recognizes that this icon of AGW belief is but a bit player, with scarcely a voice in the matter.

  50. George E. Smith (16:25:09) :
    “Is it ok if I favoritized your site Vukcevic ? some nice graphs and information there. Nice to see the water chugging on past the Norwegian coast.
    Thanx.”

    As my sojourns into impenetrable mysteries of climatology (and some other equally known unknowns), are just a diversion from the imposed intellectual monotony of well earned retirement, any contribution I may unwittingly make, is there as I said to our well respected doc Svalgaard, for the readers entertainment, with appropriate health warning attached.
    Or put it simply : yes sir, you are welcome.

  51. sky (19:10:53)

    As every “competent” oceanographer/climatologist knows, climate was in a state of Edenic perfection in the year 1800 and from this date back 4 billion years climate has not changed. The earth spontaneously assumed the “preindustrial” 1800 climate within 7 days of the earth’s creation. It only began changing when the industrial enemies of the people built their dark satanic mills.

    “Competent” in this context means competent in gaining research grants from an AGW-activist establishment.

    Climate fluctuation is a denier myth. Little ice ages and MWPs are denier myths. Ice ages are a denier myth.

    So there is no need for any mechanism of long term climate change, no need for a role in climate of the deep ocean where essentially all the climate heat resides. The only timescales of importance are timescales of research grants and the media cycle.

    Check out the link below and reassure yourself of the insignificance to Arctic temperatures and ice extent of a trifling change of 4 degrees C change in Barents Sea subsurface temperature over a half-century timescale.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/08/new-paper-barents-sea-temperature-correlated-to-the-amo-as-much-as-4%C2%B0c/#more-11592

    Furthermore, look at the Arctic ice extent link on this site to reassure yourself how Arctic ice is disappearing as predicted – and required – by global warming models.

    You can take your crony-reviewed establishment orthodoxy and put it where the sun does not shine.

  52. I’m dropping in a bit late on this thread but…. Yes, perhaps the gulf stream is flowing as fast as usual but… what if it is (say) 3C colder than usual? There is an awful lot of cold water being sucked out of the Gulf of Mexico past Florida and presumably being mixed with the other half of the Gulf Stream coming up past the West Indies.

    Does this mean that Europe is in for another cold and wet summer when it all arrives over there?

  53. Looking at these currents gives rise to a question in my mind.
    Over the last few months of following the evolving story of climate revealed post climategate, the significance of ocean currents has come to the fore.
    Our climate, it seems, is rather more the result of major ocean currents than the AGW agenda would seem to admit.
    We try and project forward but what weight can we give to the various factors? We assume a constant solar energy budget but we know that some things vary. The AGW camp proposes that CO2 is hugely significant and the sun less so. It seeems to me that the weight given to the various forcings is somewhat speculative. It’s like trying to solve a quadratic equation when you only know one solution and don’t know the value of the constants but can only guess.
    What we need is a benchmark model that is sufficiently different in climate that the significance of the various factors will be revealed; like having a second solution to the quadratic equation which enable us to solve for the various constants and then allows us to predict future climate with more surety.

    The point that occurs to me is that there may be sufficient understanding of these ocean and air current mechanisms that we could evaluate the climate for a period way back in time where all these things would be very much different.
    The current topography results in a fairly complex set of ocean current dynamics and ari movements.
    But what about if we had a much different and much simpler system to evaluate?
    Could we reasonably project the ocean current and armospheric air movement dynamics and the heat transferance with any reasonable understanding? Would it help us assign significances to the various forcings?

    Suppose we were to consider Pangia back in the permian period; we have one supercontinent which is pretty much a well connected whole and doesn’t have the channels through the superccontinent that come later as it starts to break apart.
    This reduces our world model to one giant ocean and one landmass.
    We can know something of its climate from the fossil record and from geological samples.
    Do we know enough or do we think we can find enough data in the geological record?
    So, is it then feasible to model the ocean currents air flow patterns etc with sufficient accuracy to create a useful evaluation?

  54. The Gulf Stream was NEVER going to slow down.

    It is driven by the Coriolis Effect, which is from the rotation of the Earth.

    Whether or not it carries heat, the current will still be there. And what happens up near Iceland has NOTHING to do with the entry of heat energy into the southern end of the Gulf Stream.

    They look at the sinking water and think that IT is the driving force, which is absolute RUBBISH. That sinking is an END EFFECT, not a causative effect.

    They’ve got it all backward.

    It was a STUPID concept when it was brought up. I splooshed my coffee out my nose when I heard this the first time, laughing so hard.

  55. sky (19:10:53)

    Re-reading your post your position is not ambiguously pro-AGW as I had (hastily) assumed and my previous rant was inappropriate – apologies. (By “where the sun does not shine” I was referring of course to the deep ocean, the subject of the discussion.)

  56. Wow! 71 posts on the THC slowing down, and not one mention the Younger-Dryas Stadial. Supposedly that was caused by a big disruption to the THC by fresh water, and did significantly alter the NH climate. It also made the warmista’s 0.86 degree temp rise look pretty minor.

    The Day After Tomorrow was a fun movie, which I quite enjoyed being a fan of sci fi disaster movies, but it did require suspension of all knowledge of science and climate to play along.

  57. Bjorn (06:10:45) :

    Doug Jones (02:01:34) :

    This study confirms that he Gulf Stream into the North East Atlantic isn’t slowing down:

    http://www.imr.no/filarkiv/havets_ressurser_og_miljo_2009/tilstand_okosystem_NH2_sammendrag.pdf/nb-no

    “The Atlantic water in the Norwegian Sea has been
    extraordinarily warm and salt since 2002 with
    record-high temperature in 2007. Since then a cooling
    is observed, and in 2008 the temperature sunk to
    normal. After the record-high volume transport of
    Atlantic water into the Norwegian Sea during 2005–
    2006, the temperature fell, and has been normal the
    last two years.”

    Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Norway (2009) “Status of the Norwegian Sea Ecosystem” (Summary), English version, p. 3

  58. phlogiston (16:59:48) :
    ……
    WUWT sets a high standard of grammer – not.

    Err .. dare I say it, but …

    (psst: “grammar”)

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