Gulf stream heating up
Scientists have observed that the Gulf Steam has been heating up two to three times as fast as the rest of the Atlantic over the last 100 years. Professor Martin Visbeck from the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, says the Gulf Stream, which accounts for the relatively mild climate of north-western Europe, has become around 1.2°C warmer since 1900 compared with a 0.4 degree rise in the Atlantic as a whole. The trend is similar with other important streams off the coasts of Japan, Australia, Brazil and southern Africa.
The scientists say the enhanced warming could reduce the ability of the oceans to absorb carbon dioxide as warmer water absorbs less than cold water. They stress the need for more data and continuous measurement, but Visbeck says the results indicate that climate change is changing global ocean circulation. More in the journal Nature Climate Change.
DateFebruary 2, 2012 | 12:38 pm