PAOC Colloquium - Stefan Rahmstorf (Potsdam)

Monday, February 28, 2022 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Virtual Event


Is the Atlantic Overturning Circulation approaching a tipping point?

Possible changes in Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), sometimes referred to as the Gulf Stream System, provide a key source of uncertainty regarding future climate change. Maps of temperature trends over the twentieth century show a conspicuous region of cooling in the northern Atlantic, as well as excessive warming along the North American coast. Both combined are a ‘fingerprint’ characteristic of an AMOC slowdown by about 15%, unique in the past millennium or more. A number of studies of the past few years confirm this diagnosis. Continued melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet in the coming decades could contribute to further weakening of the AMOC, with important consequences for the ocean ecosystem, the weather in the wider North Atlantic region, regional sea levels and the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide. Moreover, the AMOC has a known tipping point. The question of how close we already are to this tipping point is becoming increasingly urgent.

About This Series

The PAOC Colloquium is a weekly interdisciplinary seminar series that brings together the whole PAOC community. Seminar topics include all research concerning the physics, chemistry, and biology of the atmospheres, oceans and climate, but also talks about e.g. societal impacts of climatic processes. The seminars take place on Monday from 12-1pm. Contact for more information and Zoom password.

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Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
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