Potential Physical Early Warning Signs of Atlantic Ocean Circulation Collapse

Science Advances, 9 February 2024

This paper identifies early warning signs for collapse of the AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation). Authors definitively concluded that sudden AMOC collapse is no longer a theoretical concept for the global climate system, and noted that several of the physical ocean changes expected ahead of collapse have already been observed in the Atlantic Ocean. AMOC collapse would be driven in part by increase of fresh meltwater from Greenland, preventing surface water from sinking and generating a feedback loop that weakens the AMOC. A full shutdown would raise sea levels to inundate Atlantic coastlines, flip wet and dry seasons in the Amazon, and produce intense temperature and climate trends across the world that exceed many realistic adaptation measures.


By Amy Imdieke, Global Outreach Director, and Pam Pearson, Director of ICCI.
Published Feb. 26, 2024      Updated Feb. 26, 2024 11:11 pm