The Great Ocean Conveyor Belt Shutdown

It would be fruitful and educative to start discussing the climate change process that if it continues to exacerbate, we will be witnessing tremendous physio-natural appearances that will turn our life upside down.

I would like to talk today about the valid possibility of the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt shutdown and the outcomes of such process if we succeeded to let it happen. I mean succeeding in the negative sense of the word.

The global climate is a process of heat transfer from area to area. Hot areas transmit their heat towards cold ones and vice versa. This is as simple as a word can say about the climate. Any change in the heat equilibrium will definitely mix the features contributing to the global climate.

The main heat transmitter on the Earth is the Great Ocean Conveyer Belt. It circulates all over the oceans, as seen in the above figure, and its takes about 10,000 years to finish one cycle.

Sun heat on the equators increases the surface heat and evaporation. Thus the water becomes warm and salty. This water moves North-West towards the Caribbean and then along the Eastern American coasts, deflects towards Western Europe, and turns to the north towards Greenland and then sinks down when cooled by the Northern chilly winds where it becomes cooler than the surrounding waters thus it sinks deep into the ocean. This movement prevents Europe from a veil of ice and snow by rising the temperatures there by about 7-8 degrees.

With the continuous global warming process, more and more evaporation will generate more precipitation. River run-offs will increase and melting polar ice will dump bigger amounts of fresh water into the ocean especially in the Eastern coasts of America. This will dilute the salty stream waters and thus will refrain it from sinking deep into the ocean to continue its journey. The result is the Conveyor Shut down. The thing here is what amount of fresh water is needed to shut the Conveyor down. Till now, scientists are not sure about it. Thus in the coming 100 years and with the 0.5 degrees global temperature increase per year will not supply the sufficient amount of fresh water into the ocean.

Latest reports about the Green House Effect are expecting a 1 degree celcius increase in the global weather in the coming few years, while CO2 and warm gases are still being emitted into the air with huge amounts without any global agreement to be set by the G7 Group.

Fearing economical traumas from decreasing production as a result of lower gas emissions should be justified. Natural disasters, especially weather-related ones, are causing the global economy billions of dollars in losses. What recently happened in the Philippines is just a sample to mention. Hurricane Katrina alone created mass destruction which was summed up into a couple of billions of dollars. Should such incidents not ring the bell for the Giants, then fearfully we are definitely triggering our global weather to retaliate, mercilessly this time.



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