A new oceanography study reveals new concerns. While the wind speed has increased by 2% every decade since 1990. The energy of the ocean currents increased by 5%. They are now15% faster than they were thirty years ago, and that is a big concern.
The increase has exceeded the expectations of scientists. No simulation has suggested the increase would go so far. The real Earth proves to be more sensitive to warming than the models have shown. Global warming was expected to lead to greater wind speeds, but not until around 2100. Substantially increased temperatures were needed for this to occur. But reality seems to laugh at our scientific predictions.
It is not yet known how it would impact global weather, nor ocean flora and fauna. “There are always winners and losers in these situations,” Joellen Russell, a University of Arizona geoscientist who was not involved in the study, told The Scientist.
The increase in ocean currents is “shocking,” say the scientists
The ocean currents acceleration seems to be caused by the artificial greenhouse gas forcing. The climate crisis Earth is confronting affects the ocean in contradictory ways. The ocean winds behave differently if they are driven by cold water, or warm. While in the cold water, the speed decreases as global temperature grows, in warm water, the effect is reversed: the currents go faster.
Effects are expected, but can’t be predicted. A more turbulent ocean is more likely to absorb more heat from the atmosphere. Marine life would most likely be impacted by the increase. Or it could change how and where heat is circulated. The increased redistribution of heat around the planet, due to climate change, is affecting the weather patterns.
That might be the biggest impact of the newly discovered phenomenon. And it couldn’t be yet demonstrated as a bad effect. New research must be done to make this kind of prediction. For now, the unknown seems to be the part that most scares.
David Blair was a reporter for Henri Le Chat Noir, before becoming the lead editor. David has over 20 bylines and has reported on countless stories concerning all things related to science, games and technology. David studied at Birmingham University.