Saturday, May 14, 2005
May 08, 2005
Ireland faces big chill as ocean current slows
Jonathan Leake, Science Editor
CLIMATE change researchers have detected the first signs of a slowdown in the Gulf Stream — the mighty ocean current that keeps Ireland and Europe from freezing.
They have found that one of the “engines” driving the Gulf Stream — the sinking of supercooled water in the Greenland Sea — has weakened to less than a quarter of its former strength. The weakening, apparently caused by global warming, could herald big changes in the current over the next few years or decades. Paradoxically, it could lead to Ireland, Britain and northwestern Europe undergoing a sharp drop in temperatures.
Such a change has long been predicted by scientists but the new research is among the first to show clear experimental evidence of the phenomenon. . . .
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