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Retreating sea ice could mean a colder Europe

Professor G.W.K. Moore and his colleagues in Great Britain, Norway and the United States have published a paper in raising awareness of the fact that retreating sea ice in the Iceland and Greenland seas may be changing the circulation of warm and cold water in the Atlantic Ocean and could ultimately affect the climate in Europe.
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“A warm western Europe requires a cold North Atlantic Ocean, and the warming that the North Atlantic is now experiencing has the potential to result in a cooling over western Europe,” said Moore.

As global warming affects the earth and ocean, the retreat of the sea ice means there won’t be as much cold, dense water, generated through a process known as oceanic convection, created to flow south and feed the Gulf Stream. If convection decreases, said Moore, the Gulf Stream may weaken, thereby reducing the warming of the atmosphere, in comparison to today.

Their research, published in Nature Climate Change on June 29, is the first attempt to examine and document these changes in the air-sea heat exchange in the region – brought about by global warming – and to consider its possible impact on oceanic circulation, including the climatologically important Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.

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Related content:

Decreasing intensity of open-ocean convection in the Greenland and Iceland seas ,

Melting Arctic sea ice could be disrupting the oceans’ circulation—with major consequences , Washington Post

Declining winter sea ice near Greenland spells cooler climate for Europe ,The Conversation

Retreating sea ice could mean a colder Europe, researchers say , UofT News