15% Chance North Atlantic Current Partially Collapses In The Next Century, Scientists Say

15% Chance North Atlantic Current Partially Collapses In The Next Century, Scientists Say

by Trevor Nace, Forbes

The North Atlantic current is a key reason western Europe is unusually warm given its latitude. Now, scientists believe there is a 15% chance of a partial collapse in the coming century.

The current transports warm water from the Gulf of Mexico up the southeastern coast of the United States, breaks from the coast at Cape Hatteras, NC, and heads for northwestern Europe. The ocean is a powerful transporter of heat, providing comparatively warm conditions in northwestern Europe.

Compare London and St. Anthony, Newfoundland, which are at similar latitudes but on opposite sides of the North Atlantic. The average yearly temperature in London is about 52°F, compared to the average yearly temperature of St. Anthony of 32.6°F. The nearly 20°F difference is almost entirely the result of the North Atlantic Current bringing warm tropical waters to western Europe.

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