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We could be closer to a horrifying climate collapse than we previously thought

Published Feb 12th, 2024 6:52PM EST
Aerial view of the ocean wave
Image: tawatchai1990 / Adobe

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A major climate tipping point could be closer than we thought. Researchers say that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current (AMOC) could be closer to collapse than we previously believed. If this current collapses, it would lead to catastrophic results all around the world.

The new study that warns about this impending collapse was published in Science Advances. It’s an interesting study that highlights the current risk that AMOC is sitting at. This current is an important part of how our ocean moves warm and cold water through the oceans. And if it fails, it could lead to some insane climate changes all over the place.

The researchers called the possible collapse of AMOC a “global shift.” If it happens, then we’ll see scorching hot weather in the tropics, freezing temperatures all across Europe, and an increase in sea level rise in the North Atlantic.

arctic ocean slate
A collapse of AMOC could lead to catastrophic climate changes all around the globe. Image source: Joshua / Adobe

The new findings argue that the collapse is much closer than previously highlighted in an assessment by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The researchers involved argue that something needs to be done soon to make a difference. Otherwise, we could see this tipping point and subsequent collapse of AMOC happen as soon as the next few decades.

However, the researchers don’t highlight any specific date or timetable for when the collapse might happen. However, they do mention that if it happens, it will change several things about our world, including agriculture. Not only that, but if the warm waters aren’t able to move northward, then the ice from the north could slowly move further south.

This would allow that ice to cover England and parts of Europe, fundamentally changing the temperature by one to two degrees celsius. That might not sound like a huge difference, but again, that small difference can easily snowball and lead to more changes. As such, an AMOC collapse would be a terrifying event.

Others have argued that the tipping point could pass as early as 2050. While that might seem a good way off, it doesn’t give us much time to make a difference, as any plan that we can come up with to help stop climate change will undoubtedly take years to not only agree upon but to fund and create. And that only matters if there is even anything that can be done to stop this.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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