Talk:Shutdown of thermohaline circulation

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2008[edit]

I rolled back [1] Abe Froman; apologies for not doing it via normal means. Anyway - I thought that Europe is not cooling is pretty well known and barely needs support from a ref. But [2] would do if you want one William M. Connolley 21:46, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Could the logic of the expected observable features of thermohaline shutdown be explained. This is at best a theory. I would expect the circulation to speed up ( rather than slow) before abruptly failing. If there is an increase in north polar ice melt and increased evaporation from the (gulf stream) northern current as a consequence of climate change, would you not expect the circulation to speed up as the drivers increased. Eventually a point will be reached where there was insufficient less salty water which should cause it to fail abruptly. Prior to that event we should also expect that the down welling to be moving further north towards the ice cap. We should also expect far northern norway to get dramatically warmer. Is the current speeding up. Is far northern europe warming? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.236.103.253 (talk) 12:32, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Bryden measurements reported late 2005[edit]

I'm not sure if some of 71.123.23.59's changes ([3]) make too much use of text from the Guardian article Sea change: why global warming could leave Britain feeling the cold. Does someone who's familiar with Fair Use and Copyright have a view on this? --Leigh 06:33, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Update - not completely sure I agree with William_M._Connolley's recent edit [4], but I suspect he knows rather more about this than I do. Just making note of what was on page here, and will revisit in a while once press has settled down.

On 27 October 2006, The Guardian reported that Bryden, presenting findings to a conference in Birmingham on rapid climate change, had uncovered evidence that part of the current came to a 10-day halt in November 2004.
Oceanographers were not previously aware that a 10-day halt in the deep flow of cold-water southwards in the western Atlantic was possible. Lloyd Keigwin at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts, described the temporary shutdown as 'the most abrupt change in the whole [climate] record'.
Prof. Bryden's group stunned climate researchers last year with data suggesting that the flow rate of the Atlantic circulation had dropped by about 6m tonnes of water a second from 1957 to 1998. The study prompted the UK's Natural Environment Research Council to set up an array of 16 submerged stations spread across the Atlantic, from Florida to north Africa, to measure flow rate and other variables at different depths. Data from these stations 'confirmed the slowdown in 1998 was not a "freak observation"'- although the current does seem to have picked up slightly since.[5][6][7][8]

--Leigh 13:04, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Having talked to people who were there, this was just one minor issue out of a large conference. It isn't published; it isn't interpreted. Its probably just a natural fluctuation. It isn't what is sounds like (the entire circulation halting for 10 days, which would be impossible anyway). The RAPID array *wasn't* set up in response to Brydens paper, either William M. Connolley 13:40, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Bias[edit]

This article says that the shutdown of thermohaline circulation would not affect the climate in Europe greatly, yet the majority of the references state otherwise. That was my general impression of the article; and the view of general unimportance of THC is not a commonly held one. -Iopq 12:01, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

The article doesn't say that. It does say that shutdown of the THC is considered unlikely. I'm not sure what you mean by "maj of refs" William M. Connolley 13:20, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
The article keeps changing pretty quickly. My comment is no longer valid as of this revision. -Iopq 12:07, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Could this article be Euro-centric? If it happened, how is it going to affect Asia? __earth (Talk) 02:04, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

The theory is for the major changes to affect N Europe mostly William M. Connolley 13:01, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

"The chances of this occurring are unclear; there is some evidence for the stability of the Gulf Stream but a possible weakening of the North Atlantic drift; and there is evidence of warming in northern Europe and nearby seas, rather than the reverse." This sentence doesn't make much sense; obviously the Gulf Stream hasn't stopped *yet*, so whatever cooling process would occur were it to shut down wouldn't be in effect yet. The warming in northern Europe would clearly be a more direct consequence of global warming. -Meganomics 02:55, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

If it were on the way to slowing down you would expect to see soomething William M. Connolley 08:25, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Nature, vol. 448, pp844[edit]

Just thought I'd answer the question in the edit history, in the forementioned article it talks that shutdown of the THC is unlikely to have been a result of Global Warming and that the Bryden measurements picked up a short term variability. If that is what 198.151.13.8 was on about. AlexD 17:56, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Inaccuracy[edit]

The first sentence of this article shouldn't be "Shutdown or slowdown of the thermohaline circulation is a possible effect of global warming," but "Shutdown or slowdown of the thermohaline circulation is a highly unlikely effect of global warming." Both Wunsch (2004) and Jungclaus et al. (2006) need to be mentioned in this article. ––Bender235 (talk) 11:15, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm not very well versed on this topic (so I apologize in advance if I'm wrong), but I thought there wasn't any consensus as to whether or not it is likely? · AndonicO Engage. 11:24, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, besides Wunsch (2004) and Jungclaus (2006) there is also Kerr (2006), who acknowledges that Bryden's results were wrong. Also, the IPCC answers the question 10.2: “How Likely are Major or Abrupt Climate Changes, such as Loss of Ice Sheets or Changes in Global Ocean Circulation?” with “Abrupt climate changes … are not considered likely to occur in the 21st century, based on currently available model results.” ––Bender235 (talk) 11:41, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
If i'm not mistaken, a shutdown is impossible, while at least some slowdown is likely. (Faq 10.2 in the IPCC report seems to confirm this). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:49, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
At the moment, the article seems to suggest it's already slowing; I also remember seeing a couple of BBC programs on the Science Channel saying the same. Maybe the article should be moved to "Slowdown of the thermohaline circulation"? · AndonicO Engage. 15:25, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes but iirc the BBC reports where based on preliminary results, that have been shown as wrong. (see Kerr(2006)). The IPCC WGI report states ([9] Chapter 5: "Observations: Oceanic Climate Change and Sea Level" - Executive Summary - page 386 ):
Key oceanic water masses are changing; however, there is no clear evidence for ocean circulation changes. Southern Ocean mode waters and Upper Circumpolar Deep Waters have warmed from the 1960s to about 2000. A similar but weaker pattern of warming in the Gulf Stream and Kuroshio mode waters in the North Atlantic and North Pacific has been observed. Long-term cooling is observed in the North Atlantic subpolar gyre and in the central North Pacific. Since 1995, the upper North Atlantic subpolar gyre has been warming and becoming more saline. It is very likely that up to the end of the 20th century, the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation has been changing significantly at interannual to decadal time scales. Over the last 50 years, no coherent evidence for a trend in the strength of the meridional overturning circulation has been found.
So it would be wrong to state it as ongoing. As for changing the name of the article... Slowdown could be good, but we need a redirect, because the concept is well-known and talked about. (per WP:COMMONNAME). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:54, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I removed that tag; its an overreaction at this stage. Lets at least try to find a wording we can all be happy with. I agree that shutdown is unlikely. I've changed "possible" to "postulated", which I think is weaker. Note, though, that the next para is There is some speculation that global warming could, via a shutdown or slowdown of the thermohaline circulation, trigger localized cooling in the North Atlantic and lead to cooling, or lesser warming, in that region. This would affect in particular areas like Iceland, Ireland, the Nordic countries, and Britain that are warmed by the North Atlantic drift. The chances of this occurring are unclear; there is some evidence for the stability of the Gulf Stream but a possible weakening of the North Atlantic drift; and there is evidence of warming in northern Europe and nearby seas, rather than the reverse. To me, that indicatess quite clearly that the effect is not well understood. In fact, the entire article is fairly skeptical (I think because I added those bits). Para 3 ends with It is by no means clear that sufficient freshwater could be provided to interrupt thermohaline circulation — climate models indicate not, but research continues. and para 4 with Also, in coupled Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models the THC tends to weaken somewhat rather than stop, and the warming effects outweigh the cooling, even locally: the IPCC Third Annual Report notes that "even in models where the THC weakens, there is still a warming over Europe".[4] Model runs in which the THC is forced to shut down do show cooling — locally up to 8 degrees Celsius [5]— although the largest anomalies occur over the North Atlantic, not over land. I'm really not sure how much more you could want.

As to your refs: Wunsch is just pointing out that the GS is wind-driven. Its not really relevant to shutdown of the THC. Junclaus is just repeating the IPCC, so I can't see why you're so keen to mention it William M. Connolley (talk) 21:38, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I wouldn't say this is a dispute, either. As for the changing of "possible" to "postulated," I like that quite a bit; are you alright with the new wording, Bender? · AndonicO Engage. 21:47, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Lead section says "is an effect of global warming". I believe following calls this into question:

By measuring the neodymium in shells in seafloor mud deposited during the past million years, Pena can estimate whether North Atlantic waters were flowing south, or if the current shut down.

When the ice age cycle was every 41,000 years, the THC currents were normal strength even during glacial periods, the researchers found. But 950,000 years ago, something shut down the conveyor belt during a glacial period. The crisis lasted 100,000 years, Pena said, and then the current recovered. However, after the transition, when Earth was in its 100,000-year ice age cycle, the ocean current grew weaker or stalled every time there was an ice age.

The researchers suspect the colder ice ages after the big flip meant large ice sheets in the North Atlantic shut down the ocean conveyor belt.

But for now, Pena says scientists aren't sure which came first — bigger ice sheets or a broken ocean conveyor belt. There was also a huge drop in carbon dioxide 950,000 years ago, which also played a role in cooling the planet. The sluggish conveyor belt could have contributed to this drop by hoarding the greenhouse gas in the deep ocean, Pena said.

David Woodward ☮ ♡♢☞☽ 05:25, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Terms definition[edit]

Given that this is a multidisciplinary subject, I'd like to know what is meant by "abrupt' in this context. It means very different things for geologists and meteorologists for example.

It would seem obvious that the flows cannot be stopped like turning off a light switch, but it would have to be much, much slower. There's simply too much energy stored in the moving mass of water.

Stopping it suddenly (in days or weeks?) would involve dissipating that energy somehow, and it would be most likely (if it could be done at all,) to result in major meteorological events.

But what time-table could it be stopped? This would seem to be a very important question to ask before trying to decide if it was likely or not.

Wizodd (talk) 13:20, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

A fair point. "abrupt" does get thrown at funding agencies and the public and perhaps even journal papers, but means rather little. Maybe 10 years, would be my best guess, but without a meaningful external definition (try IPCC perhaps?) that doesn't help much. Woods Hole is suitably vague [10] but does contain the word "decade" William M. Connolley (talk) 22:13, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

The acronym "AMOC" is used but not defined. Readers with technical knowledge of this subject will know that this acronym refers to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), but casual readers will not know this acronym. I recommend either defining the acronym or removing the acronym.

Treesong (talk) 05:20, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

Are freshwater estimates accurate?[edit]

Just how good are the predictions for freshwater increases?

With the massive decline in the average age of Arctic sea ice, has the salinity of the Arctic Ocean surface waters decreased?

The rapid freeze last fall suggests that the salinity is much lower than typically observed, and, of course, young ice is thinner and weaker and melts more easily.

There is also the question of the Greenland ice melt. The question being, how fast CAN the ice end up in the ocean?

The fastest glacier in the world, the Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland, which is currently moving at a rate in excess of 100 m/year, is already moving one order of magnitude faster than we previously thought possible. How fast CAN the ice move?

The mechanisms which power this process are all positive feedback--they accelerate with time.

A fast moving glacier develops more crevices across the direction of flow, which permit more melt water from the surface of the glacier to penetrate to the bottom of the ice, more liquid water under the ice accelerates the glacier.

The fastest avalanche clocked (Mt. St. Helens, 1982) moved at over 250mph. Of course, fast avalanches are, so far as I know, always supported on a layer of air/steam, so a glacier would not normally move nearly as fast, but a well-lubricated ice/rock junction will have minimal friction, so I suspect that it is possible for a glacier to move substantially faster than Jakobshavn glacier is moving today.

Such movements on a larger scale could conceivably move a great deal of fresh water into the sea in a very short time (days to weeks.)

Has anyone modeled this? Because it will apply to the Antarctic East Ice Sheet movement too, and THAT could conceivably dump hundreds of cubic km into the sea in a short time if it were lubricated.

Wizodd (talk) 17:15, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Confusion about reasons for delaring the event "extremely unlikely"[edit]

So far as I've been able to find, many of the climate simulation models agree that a shutdown is possible, and yet the seeming consensus is that it is "extremely unlikely."

This would seem to show a lack of confidence in the models, but these same models are consulted and used to support many other factors and results of climate change.

What justifications are there for declaring this "extremely unlikely?"

Wizodd (talk) 17:21, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

I don't understand you. None of the GCMs show a shutdown. What are you referring to? William M. Connolley (talk) 20:45, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Point by Point Criticism of Bryden measurements reported late 2005 Section[edit]

These are some of the issues I had with this section. Apologies if the structure and prose are not up to scratch, but I think that you will be able to follow some of the issues from the below.

[citation needed]

   * The results are a surprise to scientists in the field.

> This is nice. Why are the results a surprise? One would prefer an academic, professional (or, better yet - but perhaps a luxury) and objective reason for why they are so surprised.

   * Modelling suggests that increase of fresh water flows large enough to shut down the thermohaline circulation would be an order of magnitude greater than currently estimated to be occurring, and such increases are unlikely to become critical within the next hundred years; this is hard to reconcile with the Bryden measurements.

>Aside from mathematics, doesn't experimental verification take precedence over modelling? Besides, which models are being referred to? Have any of those models stood up to non-trivial scientific cross analysis (ie: do they predict likely future outcomes?).

   * The Bryden results could be caused by natural variation, or "noise", that is, coincidence.  

>Are there not statistical methods which the Bryden paper has been put through in order to reduce the effects of noise in the results? I imagine that this is likely (or, at least, that upon placing their raw numerical results online - someone would be able to do it) > There exist robust statistical methods for determining the probability that the results could be generated by random measurement noise or otherwise - what might those statistical methods say about the likelihood of current experimental evidence 'fluking' a trend? The statements as it stands is woolly (ie: subjective and not scientific).

   * If the results are correct, perhaps thermohaline circulation reductions will not have the drastic effects that have been predicted on European cooling.

> Is this POV pushing? There are not enough references for such a broad sweeping statement to be made. A less POV pushing way of making the statement would be to say that ....."if there were a larged body of evidence indicating x, y and z, then it would be more reasonable to make the assertions X,Y and Z". Even then, I think most people would push you towards explaining WHY x,y and z would imply X, Y and Z.

   * While previous shutdowns (e.g. the Younger Dryas) have caused cooling, the current overall climate is different; in particular sea-ice formation is less because of overall global warming.
   * However, a thermohaline circulation shutdown could have other major consequences apart from cooling of Europe, such as an increase in major floods and storms, a collapse of plankton stocks, warming or rainfall changes in the tropics or Alaska and Antarctica (including those from intensified El Niño effect), more frequent and intense El Niño events, or an oceanic anoxic event (oxygen (O2) below surface levels of the stagnant oceans becomes completely depleted - a probable cause of past mass extinction events).

Further measurements support the interpretation of natural variation.[16] > I WISH to reple the [16] with a [citation needed] tag as the referred to paper is not open to full public viewing (unless you would like to argue this point).

ConcernedScientist (talk) 08:14, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

errm, taking your last point first, are you under the impression that Nature isn't a WP:RS? Because I can assure you that it is William M. Connolley (talk) 20:49, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Thermohaline circulation's atmospheric warming effect is insignificant[edit]

Dansgaard-Oeschger events and the Younger Dryas event are not caused by the shutting down of thermohaline circulation; the shutdown is merely an effect of them, their cause being changes in atmospheric circulation regimes. According to Seager, "Only through an inflated view of the impact of ocean circulation could it be thought that the enormous glacial era abrupt changes were caused by changes in ocean circulation. Instead, as we have argued, changes in atmospheric circulation regimes had to be the driver, see (Seager and Battisti,2006)." See http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/gs/ for the author's explanation. Gf1605 (talk) 01:03, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

That is certainly Seagers opinion William M. Connolley (talk) 10:47, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Jan 2010[edit]

When did the recent interruption of the transatlantic stream end? The article only says it lasted "briefly". Did temperatures in Europe rise again after it was restored?--87.162.41.11 (talk) 12:06, 17 February 2010 (UTC)


September 2012[edit]

I notice no new additions have been made here in almost 3 years. Have the effects become so clear that the previous arguments are strangely quiet? The ACTUAL reduction in the flow of water at the bottom of the ocean as measured by many countries wasn't brief and didn't end. (Not the 10 day 'stop' but the unbelievable reduction of the stream). After 10,000 years of stable flow, the stream reduced by 5% in 5 years, and 25% (the article says 30%, same same) in 13 years (1992 to 2005). I notice no addictions arguing against the probably stopping of the stream and a quick shift into ice-age have appeared in 2 years on this article. During that time massive changes have occurred in the weather, the 2011 disruptions, Australian floods, Japan Tidal Wave, New Zealand earthquake, the USA weather disasters, and numerous other which you no doubt are aware of, have occurred. The Gulf Stream takes approximately 1000 years to complete a cycle. A 5% reduction in 5 years, and a 25% reduction (or 30%)in 13 years is MASSIVE!!!

    • Unprecedented. **

July 2014[edit]

More evidence from http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n5/full/nclimate2554.html Reported also at http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/09/24/why-some-scientists-are-worried-about-a-surprisingly-cold-blob-in-the-north-atlantic-ocean/ — Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.103.186.104 (talk) 07:37, 26 September 2015 (UTC) Well, I'll leave it at that. Cheers.

blucat David. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 101.173.85.83 (talk) 16:13, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Movie Reference[edit]

Doesn't The Day After Tomorrow climate fiction-disaster film uses this scenario? If that is, the article could mention it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gajatko (talkcontribs) 20:42, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Done. prokaryotes (talk) 16:19, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

Copying text from other sources[edit]

Wikipedia:Copying text from other sources "In almost all cases, you may not copy text from other sources into Wikipedia. Doing so is a copyright violation and may constitute wp:plagiarism. Always write the articles in your own words and cite the sources of the article. Copyright violations are often speedily deleted."

i've blockquoted 2 entire paras from "Effects on weather" section. This was a word-for-word copy with no quotes and no blockquote. Further, a ref in the original paper (Hansen, 2009) was removed, which makes this double plagiarism, and plagiarism which was not included in the original paper. Please read Wikipedia:Copying text from other sources and clean this article up. The para was referenced but this is not sufficient. This is not just a matter of style, but an important Wikipedia policy with implications as discussed in "copying text..."David Woodward ☮ ♡♢☞☽ 14:02, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Hi David, the link to the content you allege resembles a copyright infringement, is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. The notice is at the top of the linked journal website. Additional if you read WP:Quotation, you can see that mentioning the author of a work, followed by the content is a common practise to make clear from where the content comes from. Additional the text is slightly edited to remove rather technical infos such as inline study references, this is the standard practise we use at Wikipedia for scientific related content attributions. Please revert your recent edits. Thanks. prokaryotes (talk) 16:41, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
i'm sorry, wrong tag. I have replaced with quotefarm. Issue is not copyright
from Wikipedia:Quotations:
"with any alterations (such as corrections or abridgements) clearly marked as such" you removed (Hansen, 2009)
"quote marks or formatting clearly indicate where the quotation begins and ends" original had no quote marks, no blockquote, did not indicate where quote begins and ends
"general guidelines": "For free or public domain material, usage of quote marks is not required by copyrights, but to avoid plagiarism; that is still wrong. Explicit quotes must be used to provide clear attribution of wording to the original author(s)."
"formatting": "Quotations must always be clearly indicated as being quotations." David Woodward ☮ ♡♢☞☽ 01:40, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
The text is released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, it is no problem to modify the content i use from that source. The "Too many or too-lengthy quotations" notice you added to the article is also not needed because all the content is important. prokaryotes (talk) 01:48, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
From WP:QUOTEFARM "Provided each use of a quotation within an article is legitimate and justified there is no need for an arbitrary limit". I ask you to stop readding notices, it has become disruptive.prokaryotes (talk) 02:59, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
You have still not addressed lack of quote marks or quote template, and you have removed quote template. In my opinion you have cherrypicked "wp:quotefarm" inappropriately. I do not understand what you mean by "I ask you to stop readding notices". If you feel that there is disruption I would be happy to go to arbitration.David Woodward ☮ ♡♢☞☽ 05:38, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
It's not copyrighted content where we have to use quotes, or paraphrases. It's a mix of own mashup of parts and slight modifications for readability. prokaryotes (talk) 13:09, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
i thought we agreed that this is not an issue of copyright, since paper under a CC licence? The two paragraphs are direct word-for-word quotes from two sections of the paper, with one sentence removed from one of them. That does not constitute "mashup of parts and slight modifications for readability". I repeat from above: "usage of quote marks is not required by copyrights, but to avoid plagiarism; that is still wrong. Explicit quotes must be used to provide clear attribution of wording to the original author(s)." wp:quotefarm David Woodward ☮ ♡♢☞☽ 00:55, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
First you are concerned about a copyviolation, then about to much stuff, and now wp:plagiarism. In regards to plagiarism, i gave citation and inline attribution, that should cover it. The edit here follows the "In-text attribution, no quotation marks, text properly paraphrased, inline citation", this explanation should resolves the issues you mentioned above. prokaryotes (talk) 01:33, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
text is not paraphrased, text is word-for-word quote of 2 paras, with one sentence removed. David Woodward ☮ ♡♢☞☽ 03:51, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

This little kerfluffle over sourcing strikes me as a diversion. The larger problem is that the article is extremely disorganized. It launches into specific examples and possible effects in essentially random order, before even explaining clearly what the phenomenon is, how it is caused, and so on. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:37, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

Also take a look at this version from last week (issues like WP:UNDUE, old and WP:SYN were addressed). Feel free to add something to a definition section under the lede or into the existing General section. Thanks.prokaryotes (talk) 01:42, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Hey Shock Brigade Harvester Boris, not just a little kerfuffle. Plagiarism is a serious issue, please see wp:plagiarism & Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2009-04-13/Dispatches the issue you have raised might perhaps be raised in other sections of this talk page, or in a new section. David Woodward ☮ ♡♢☞☽ 03:51, 29 January 2016 (UTC)