The Responsible Survivialist

The Collapse of the Gulf Stream
December 3, 2009, 6:23 pm
Filed under: Climate Change, Future Scenarios, Uncategorized

WhoShotJR wrote:
Saying that, one of the major determinants in my mind that a major change is underway is a change in the Gulf Stream. Even slight changes will have global effects. I truly hope the current forecasts are wrong.

They are probably not and that only scared the crap out of me up until last night. Now having watched a new video and read a DOD report, I’m ready to drink myself into a coma and forget it all, my happy face picking daisies and fresh tomatoes.

I wanted to add to this thread a good video on the possibility of the Gulf Stream collapse that I had seen in the past. A check on Youtube yielded up a different video I had not watch.

(I believe it was released 2005)

The first half of the video is a good over view of the Gulf Stream and how it works. It puts a face on some of the AGW climate scientists and their work that I thought was nice. At least to me the video seemed to refrain from a rabid sense of preaching and stick to the facts.

The last third of the video thought is chilling. Forget about decades of slow climate change and incremental disasters…

How about the scenario where global warming stalls the Gulf Stream and plunges Europe and North America back into an Ice Age in the matter of a few years? Think Siberian temperatures across the Continent. While causing massive drought across Africa and China as the change in ocean currents reduces the typical monsoons so much of SE Asia needs.

Can we say bad?

I realize it’s a slim worse case scenario presented but still, don’t we talk about zombies?

BTW, here is the DOD report put together by the Woods Hole Oceanographic people referenced in the video.

Overview articles about the report:

The Report (pdf)

You may also enjoy the latest CIA estimate, Global Trends 2015 here:


Ghostface In reply:
It’s probably worth discriminating between the Gulf Stream and the AMOC.

The Gulf Stream is a primarily wind-driven current (a Western Boundary current, part of the North Atlantic Gyre) that will be with us pretty much as long as there is an Atlantic ocean basin and the planet keeps spinning.

The AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation) is part of the thermohaline circulation of the global ocean and is what has been implicated in past abrupt climatic changes. The probable cause of its past disruption is massive influx of freshwater, either in the form of ice sheet decay or abrupt glacial meltwater lake drainage.

Collapse of the AMOC is a very low probability event on timescales of a century or two. Much more likely on the timescales we’re predominantly concerned about are either a weakening of the AMOC as it slowly freshens and/or committing it to a collapse down the road.

Bear in mind that comparisons to past AMOC collapse are not all that illuminating when imagining its potential effect on an anthropogenically warmed planet- while significant regional cooling of parts of North America and Western Europe would no doubt occur, this would be taking place against a backdrop of significantly warmed temperatures. There’s virtually no chance of a Day After Tomorrow scenario of plunging the North Atlantic into glacial conditions in the next hundred or so years.

Weakening of the AMOC does have significant implications for regional precipitation and sea level rise, however, that make it a subject of active research and concern for policy makers.


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