Scientists find 'drastic' weather-related Atlantic shifts

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Scientists have found evidence of a "drastic" shift since the 1970s in north Atlantic Ocean currents that usually influence weather in the northern hemisphere, Swiss researchers said on early January 2011.

The team of biochemists and oceanographers from Switzerland, Canada and the United States detected changes in deep sea Atlantic corals that indicated the declining influence of the cold northern Labrador Current.

They said in the US National Academy of Science journal PNAS that the change "since the early 1970s is largely unique in the context of the last approximately 1,800 years," and raised the prospect of a direct link with global warming.

The Labrador Current interacts with the warmer Gulfstream from the south. They in turn have a complex interaction with a climate pattern, the North Atlantic Oscillation, which has a dominant impact on weather in Europe and North America.

Scientists have pointed to a disruption or shifts in the oscillation as an explanation for moist or harsh winters in Europe, or severe summer droughts such as in Russia, in recent years.

One of the five scientists, Carsten Schubert, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Acquatic Sciences and Technology (EAWAG), underlined that for nearly 2,000 years the sub polar Labrador current off northern Canada and Newfoundland was the dominant force.

However that pattern appeared to have only been repeated occasionally in recent decades.

"Now the southern current has taken over, it's really a drastic change," Schubert said, pointing to the evidence of the shift towards warmer water in the northwest Atlantic.

The research was based on nitrogen isotope signatures in 700 year old coral reefs on the ocean floor, which feed on sinking organic particles.

While water pushed by the Gulfstream is salty and rich in nutrients, the colder Arctic waters carried by the Labrador current contain fewer nutrients.

Changes could be dated because of the natural growth rings seen in corals.

"The researchers suspect there is a direct connection between the changes in oceanic currents in the North Atlantic and global warming caused by human activities," said EAWAG in a statement.

This was something that we all, I would think, have feared, namely the redirecting of the Gulf Stream currents and other such North Atlantic oscillations.

Only the Gulf Stream currents reaching the shores of Britain make this country as “mild” as it is, in general, and give us this, mostly, benign climate.

Considering that London is basically on the same latitude as is southern Canada winters could become a problem for us.

But, as there are still the various oceanic oscillations to consider the weather patterns of Britain will not become that of Canada but rather a different one to which we have known, such as wetter summers and winters which are colder than we have know for some time but also with lots of precipitation.

One of, in my opinion, causes of the shifting of the Atlantic currents, and here especially the Gulf Stream, is the destruction of the biggest weather and climate kitchen in the world, namely the Equatorial rainforests, and in this case primarily those of South America.

Thus, such shifts and the changes in the climate and weather patters affecting the Eastern seaboard and the likes of Britain and such are man-made and it is indeed human activity that has caused this.

We seem to, far too much, look at CO2 and that because it is one that can be traded, and forget all the other things that are affecting the world's climate, and much of this, it would appear, has been cause due to what mankind has done to Earth, our Mother.

Can we undo it? I rather doubt it but we must stop any such exploitative and dangerous activities as of now immediately and maybe, just maybe, things might, over time, level out again.

© 2011