Ocean current changes could alter Irish climate for two decades

Kevin O’Sullivan | Irish Times | 28/07/2018

Weakening of Gulf Stream could result in rapid temperature increases

A weakening of major ocean currents in the Northern Atlantic, including the Gulf Stream that warms Ireland, could trigger a sudden change to Ireland’s climate that could last for two decades, Irish scientists have warned.

Rather than leading to a period of cooling, however, it could result in rapid temperature increases across the country, according to the Maynooth University team.

Such changes could have disastrous outcomes for the global climate and make the urgent need to deal with climate change more difficult, the team declares, in research published by the journal Nature.

The North Atlantic Ocean’s circulation system, responsible for Ireland’s relatively mild climate, has weakened, and is expected to weaken further in coming decades with potentially devastating consequences.

Strong ocean circulation has traditionally been associated with higher temperatures and sluggish circulation with cooler temperatures, but new research is challenging that view.