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What Is the Gulf Stream? | NOAA SciJinks Ė All About Weather

The Gulfstream is a natural lifesaving mechanism that allows all species to live


Humans Changing the Environment Through Neglect and Greed


There is no end to the destruction that humans have caused on the environment of earth.  One of the Earth's major climate-regulating ocean currents the Gulf Stream is moving slower than it has in thousands of years. All to the thanks of humans and their climate changing activities.

This could impact weather patterns and sea levels on both sides of the Atlantic, causing devastation all over the world. The current could come to a complete stop if humans donít do something to reverse the damage they have already done. This disruption could unleash rising sea levels along the coasts of North America and northwestern Europe, and usher in more extreme weather such as heat waves and cyclones. Weather that the US has seen get worse and worse.

If the Gulf Stream crosses its tipping point, it will continue to weaken even if we have managed to stop global warming. Afterwards, it will slow down by a lot, coming close to a complete shutdown of the circulation. Then there will be great problems.

The Gulf Stream is essentially a giant conveyor belt along the East coast of the United States. The current begins near the Florida Peninsula, carrying warm surface water north toward Newfoundland before meandering east across the Atlantic. By the time it reaches the North Atlantic, that warm surface water becomes cooler, saltier and denser, sinking into the deep sea before being driven south again, where the cycle repeats. The current moves more than 5.2 billion gallons of water per second, or almost 100 times the Amazon River flow.

This water flow has countless climate impacts on both sides of the Atlantic, keeping temperatures in Florida and the U.K. mild, influencing the path and strength of cyclones and helping to regulate sea levels. Global warming increases annual rainfall and accelerates the melting of ice sheets, including the Greenland Ice Sheet in the North Atlantic. Both of these reasons dump ever greater amounts of freshwater into the ocean, reducing the density and salinity of the surface water at the northern end of the Gulf Stream. This freshwater hinders how quickly the water can sink and begin its journey back south, weakening the complete flow of the system.

If the flow weakens or stops the effects could be severe. A slowdown of the system intensifies sea-level rise on the US coast for cities like New York and Boston. Studies have linked severe heat waves and storm patterns in northern Europe and the eastern United States to the weakened current. Even though scientists donít know exactly the total destruction of the results of the Gulf Stream failing. It is certain that the Gulf Stream is extremely important to the health and continuance of our ability to live.

Manís ability to change our environment through neglect and greed without ever considering the consequences astounds me. Why would humans want to kill off the only planet that they can survive on? Is making money to be super rich worth killing off your home? To some I guess so. It all comes down to this. No amount of money will buy you a new planet.

People need to start figuring it out, after all itís not that to understand that if the planet dies so does all life and your money wonít mean squat.






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