This latest climate disaster in progress is definitely not what anyone wanted to hear. New research by the University of New South Wales published in Nature states that Antarctic currents could slow by 40 percent by the 2050s.
Combined with an accelerating Antarctic melt after this summer, it’s a grim picture. The Antarctic is a primary driver of the world’s oceans. Any significant change, let alone a “collapse” in Antarctic currents, would be a massive shift in Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian ocean temperatures and chemical dynamics, thermal profiles, ecological environments, and weather patterns. These effects a likely to be long-lasting.
The effects of a radical change in the Antarctic currents would inevitably be severe for the ocean food chain. Nutrient circulation in the oceans will definitely be negatively affected.
Another issue – The Antarctic is still in comparatively reasonable condition, if only compared to the hopelessly mismanaged other oceans. A lot of species interact with those currents, their nutrients, and associated thermal patterns. So the domino effect will probably be wide-ranging.
Yet another train wreck, you’d think. The problem with this finding is that predicting the damage from such massive changes in ocean dynamics is almost impossible.
For example – There would be a natural correlative atmospheric effect, but what would it be? How would that affect adjoining regions? Would it create a permanent La Nina? Would it affect oxygen transfer from the ocean? What would be the effect on the ocean currents for Australia, South America, and Africa? Would it affect rainfall patterns in the southern hemisphere? It’s likely that all these systems would be affected.
The many decades of inactivity are going to be highly expensive. This situation will make that problem a lot worse. Sufficient disruption to ocean thermals and atmospheric weather patterns could rewrite the entire food chain, including crop growing. Some crop-growing areas could become completely non-viable.
Like all the others, that particular outcome was predicted years ago regarding climate change. This new research is significant because it indicates a lengthy time frame for the effects. These huge amounts of water and thermals won’t just click back in place in a few years or decades.
This research has found a horizon over which humanity may not be going. Such drastic changes could easily make a huge human population unsupportable. We’re now in Game Over territory. Add the water crises, and it’s a number-crunching exercise. The future will be very different. If there is a future for such a stupid species.
The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.