Atlantic (ToGW) - Scientists are now tracking the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation with a sense of urgency.
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation -- fondly known as the conveyor belt – was featured in “An Inconvenient Truth” and in “The Day After Tomorrow” as a force that could wreak havoc on the climate of Europe and North America if slowed down.
Now scientists are taking detailed measurements of its massive flows.
The current is called the conveyor belt because it forms a giant loop from the Gulf of Mexico to Iceland and back. Warm water (the Gulf Stream) flows near the surface of the ocean along the east coast of the United States. It then veers northeast towards Greenland.
There it cools and desalinizes -- becomes less salty -- from the fresh water melting off Greenland glaciers (see The Day After Tomorrow).
Some scientists have suggested that the increasing desalinization of the current could have cooling effects on North America and Europe. Others have predicted that the desalinization could make slow the effect of global warming in current’s area.