This article describes the impact that climate change is having on the oceans – and it is NOT good.
Two years ago, former NASA climate scientist James Hansen and a number of colleagues laid out a dire scenario in which gigantic pulses of fresh water from melting glaciers could upend the circulation of the oceans, leading to a world of fast-rising seas and even superstorms.
Hansen’s scenario was based on a computer simulation, not hard data from the real world, and met with skepticism from a number of other climate scientists.
But now, a new oceanographic study appears to have confirmed one aspect of this picture – in its early stages, at least.
The new research, based on ocean measurements off the coast of East Antarctica, shows that melting Antarctic glaciers are indeed freshening the ocean around them.
If the process of Antarctic bottom water formation is being impaired, at least in some regions, then it would be a Southern hemisphere analogue of a process that has already caused great worry and drawn considerably more attention – a potential slowdown of the overturning circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean, thanks to freshening of the ocean from the melting of Greenland.