By Victoria Gill Science correspondent, BBC News
- 11 April 2018
A significant shift in the system of ocean currents that helps keep parts of Europe warm could send temperatures in the UK lower, scientists have found.
They say the Atlantic Ocean circulation system is weaker now than it has been for more than 1,000 years – and has changed significantly in the past 150.
The study, in the journal Nature, says it may be a response to increased melting ice and is likely to continue.
Researchers say that could have an impact on Atlantic ecosystems.
Scientists involved in the Atlas project – the largest study of deep Atlantic ecosystems ever undertaken – say the impact will not be of the order played out in the 2004 Hollywood blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow.
But they say changes to the conveyor-belt-like system – also known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Amoc) – could cool the North Atlantic and north-west Europe and transform some deep-ocean ecosystems.
That could also affect temperature-sensitive species like coral, and even Atlantic cod.