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126 Running AMOC

15 . 03 . 2021


Watch this on video | Buy us a coffee: Chris / Henry

Polar Newsreel: One of the most bizarre news of the polar regions comes from China where recently a so-called polar bear hotel opened, praising all its rooms having an exceptional view on the completely enclosed polar bears.

In Antarctica, renowned German research icebreaker Polarstern squeezed through a narrow ice channel between new mega iceberg A-74 and the Brunt Ice Shelf it just recently calved off. A spectacular view and incredible scientific chance.

Running AMOC: One of the largest and fastest ocean currents on earth is believed to be a key indicator for climate change and part of the complex climate regulation mechanisms of the planet. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation - publicly known as Gulf Stream System - is an integral part of the thermohaline circulation that transports heat from the equator to the poles and operate like a large engine for the global climate. Its length of 10,000 km makes it one of the largest and fastest currents on Earth, and it’s very warm. At roughly 2 m/s it brings up to 100,000,000 m³ of 30°C warm water per second from the Gulf of Mexico towards Europe where it introduces crucial heat to the continent. In order to produce the same heat that it brings to the shores of Europe, we would need 1,000,000 nuclear power plants why it's also called the heat pump. Without it, the temperature would be significantly colder here, at least five to ten degrees.

In the last few years, scientists and pundits in the media have repeatedly expressed the fear that the Gulf Stream could come to a standstill due to climate change and the question everything revolves around is whether the Gulf Stream System aka the AMOC has already weakened? And indeed, the most recent research paper delivers evidence: The weakest state of the Gulf Stream System in 1,000 years.

This is an episode of the Curiously Polar podcast

with Chris Marquardt Henry Páll Wulff:

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