Le Lézard
Classified in: Environment
Subjects: NPT, SVY

Florida Current Is Weaker Now Than At Any Point In The Past Century

WOODS HOLE, Mass., Aug. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A key component of the Gulf Stream has markedly slowed over the past century--that's the conclusion of a new research paper in Nature Communications published on August 7. The study develops a method of tracking the strength of near-shore ocean currents using measurements made at the coast, offering the potential to reduce one of the biggest uncertainties related to observations of climate change over the past century.

"In the ocean, almost everything is connected," said Christopher Piecuch, an assistant scientist in the Physical Oceanography Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and author of the study. "We can use those connections to look at things in the past or far from shore, giving us a more complete view of the ocean and how it changes across space and time."

Piecuch, who specializes in coastal and regional sea level change, used a connection between coastal sea level and the strength of near-shore currents to trace the evolution of the Florida Current, which forms the beginning of the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream flows north along the Southeast Atlantic Coast of the United States and eventually east into the North Atlantic Ocean, carrying heat, salt, momentum, and other properties that influence Earth's climate. Because nearly continuous records of sea level stretch back more than a century along Florida's Atlantic Coast and in some parts of the Caribbean, he was able to use mathematical models and simple physics to extend the reach of direct measurements of the Gulf Stream to conclude that it has weakened steadily and is weaker now than at any other point in the past 110 years.

One of the biggest uncertainties in climate models is the behavior of ocean currents either leading to or responding to changes in Earth's climate. Of these, one of the most important is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, which is a large system or "conveyor belt" of ocean currents in the Atlantic that includes the Gulf Stream and that helps regulate global climate. Piecuch's analysis agrees with relationships seen in models between the deeper branches of the AMOC and the Gulf Stream, and it corroborates studies suggesting that the deeper branches of AMOC have slowed in recent years. His method also offers the potential to monitor ocean currents like the Gulf Stream from the coast, complementing existing but difficult-to-maintain moored instruments and expensive research cruises.

"If we can monitor something over the horizon by making measurements from shore, then that's a win for science and potentially for society," said Piecuch.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean's role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit www.whoi.edu.

Key Takeaways

Provided by Newswise, online resource for knowledge-based news at www.newswise.com

Media Contacts: Erin Koenig
Media Relations Manager
Phone: 508-289-2270
Mobile: 508-566-0989

SOURCE Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

These press releases may also interest you

at 15:20
The fourth episode of filmmaker Rod Murphy's "Crop to Campus" minidocumentary, in which college students explore apparel sustainability, dropped today and features the students visiting HanesBrands' textile fabric and sewing operations in El...

at 14:40
A lineup of experts and impactful thought leaders, including plant-based cuisine thought leader and founder of Sage Vegan Bistro & Brewery, Mollie Engelhart, has been announced for the current season of the IMPACT! with John Shegerian podcast. The...

at 13:30
Keep Moving, Inc., maker of the gutzy organic brand of gut-healthy snacks, is experiencing accelerated distribution growth as a result of COVID-era consumer trends. Gutzy® plant-based organic fruit, veg and botanical pouches are now available on...

at 13:15
Propel Fuels has been named a top-four global energy brand by the CHARGE Energy "World's Best Green Brand" Awards. Propel Fuels has created a new consumer category in the multi-billion dollar retail fuel industry, redefining customer loyalty, and...

at 13:10
AVANGRID, Inc. will be releasing its third quarter 2020 financial results on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, after the market closes. In conjunction with the earnings release, AVANGRID will conduct a webcast conference call with financial analysts on...

at 13:00
Property Markets Group (PMG), a leading modern urban developer, has partnered with OBE Power, the leading private network of smart, distributed electric vehicle chargers in Florida to offer Electric Vehicle Charging as a Service (EV CaaS) at Society...

News published on 7 august 2020 at 14:02 and distributed by: