Melting glaciers can freeze Western Europe

In the Arctic ocean has accumulated a huge amount of cold fresh water resulting from the melting of ice. If she will rush into the Atlantic ocean, it could change the climate of Europe.

While the Arctic is the Beaufort gyre — to cope with the influx of fresh water. However, its reserves are not infinite. Due to the melting of glaciers, the cycle has become faster and more violent, it is argued in a scientific paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

the Vast majority of climate scientists agree that the average temperature of the globe is increasing, and the cause is human activity. However, this does not mean that in every corner of the Earth will become warmer. Thus, the North of Western Europe and already has an unusually warm climate for the high latitude heating due to its warm currents. Paradoxically, global warming could contribute to this greenhouse frightening mode adjustments.

the Beaufort Gyre (Beaufort Gyre) is a large — scale circular movement of water in the Western Arctic. The wind, for decades wind blowing from the West causes the water streams to rotate clockwise (if you look at the ocean from above). This cycle holds the water which is formed due to the seasonal melting of glaciers, tiny portions releasing it into the surrounding ocean.

But sea water in the Arctic (and the world at large) is getting warmer. Because of this, the glaciers are melting more intense normal. Since the 1990s years in the cycle have accumulated 8,000 cubic kilometers of fresh water. It is about a third of the largest (by volume) in the world of freshwater lake Baikal.

What will happen if these water masses will break out of this cycle and get into the near North Atlantic? Scientists fear that violated the so-called breaking of the Atlantic meridional circulation (Atlantic meridional overturning circulation).

This is a kind of giant conveyor belt that connects the tropics and the polar latitudes. Subsurface water in it, heated Equatorial generousm the sun, flowing to the North. In the Arctic it is intensively cooled by contact with ice and cold air. Because of this, its density increases, and water is literally sinking, sinking to the bottom. Formed deep cold current in the direction of the tropics. There, the water replaces the water mass, went to the pole. The circle is complete.

the streams of warm surface water is an important component of “warmer” in Western Europe. But to the heating system continued to operate, it is important that the Arctic sea water cooled regularly sank. Otherwise the mechanism will grind to a halt.

the Release of huge amounts of freshwater into the North Atlantic can become the stick in this important for humanity wheel. Because fresh water is considerably less dense than salt, and therefore floats in the past. If the cycle of Beaufort in the Atlantic will release all trapped in this excess of fresh water, Atlantic meridional circulation runs the risk of breaking hard to slow down.

“We do not expect the disappearance of the Gulf stream, but we expect [quite serious] consequences. That is why we are closely watching the cycle of Beaufort,” said the co — author of a new study Alec petty (Alek Petty) from NASA.

petty and his colleagues processed the satellite data for the 2003-2014 to understand what was going on with the Arctic “freshwater time bomb”.

the Study confirmed that the summer melting of glaciers in the cycle of throwing more and more masses of fresh water. The cycle spins faster, and at the same time it becomes more turbulent. Because of this cold melt water is intensively mixed with warmer seawater and heated from it.

the Researchers fear that this could further accelerate the melting of ice. Moreover, intensive mixing of water affects the distribution of oxygen and nutrients, and this may impact on marine fauna.

the X Hour will come when the West wind will be replaced on the East and the Beaufort gyre will start to turn in the opposite direction. According to observations, the change of winds should occur every 5-7 years, but no changes were made in the last 20 years, so nobody knows when to expect these threatening changes. Of course, such a large flow can not change direction instantly. Inevitably there will be a moment when it almost stops. And then encased it in fresh water to gush into the surrounding ocean.

“This study shows that melting sea ice can have a big impact on our climatic system, even though we just opened [these processes],” says petty.

By the way, earlier “Conduct.Science” ( wrote about the fact that the flows of cold water from the Arctic ran the climate of Europe in the past 3000 years. We have also described how scientists examine coastal glaciers of Antarctica to find out there threatening them in the near future destruction.

Text: To.Science