UK fear of cooler ocean currents as sea level rise speeds up

Wed 12 January 2005 View all news

The warm North Atlantic currents that make the UK climate more balmy are weakening, according to scientists at the UK National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. Meanwhile, US research shows that climate change has doubled the rate of sea level rise around the world.

According to a report in The New Scientist, the Southampton findings arise from a study of ocean circulation in the North Atlantic, which showed a 30 per cent reduction in the warm currents that carry water north from the Gulf Stream. The Southampton scientists are not yet certain whether their findings are the signal of a long-term trend.

In separate work, scientists from Rutgers University in New Jersey who analysed cores drilled from different sites along the eastern seaboard of the US have found that climate change is rapidly increasing the rate of sea level rise around the world. According to a report in The Guardian, the researchers say that sea levels will rise by nearly half a metre by the end of the century, forcing back coastlines by hundreds of metres in places. 

Meanwhile, research by the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (reported by the International Herald Tribune) shows that there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today than at any point in the last 650,000 years.

The researchers in this study, originally published in the journal Science, analyzed tiny air bubbles preserved in Antarctic ice for millennia to come up with their results. According to a specialist at Oregon State University, the findings promise to spur dramatically improved understanding of climate change.

Related Links

The Guardian - news link
New Scientist story link
International Herald Tribune news link

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