A major ocean current in the Arctic could reverse amid warming temperatures, a change which would bring significantly colder weather to western Europe, scientists at Nasa have warned. The circular current, called the Beaufort Gyre, moves in a clockwise direction around the western Arctic Ocean, north of Canada and Alaska, where it naturally collects freshwater from glacial melt, river run-off and precipitation. This freshwater protects sea ice from salty water which would melt it faster, and helps keep the north of the planet cool. But increasingly rapid ice-melt due to climate change means the current has picked up unusually large amounts of freshwater and exposed it to the air, causing it to move faster and become more turbulent. Using 12 years of satellite data, scientists have measured how this circular current has precariously balanced an influx of unprecedented amounts of cold, freshwater, and how this equilibrium could soon break down.
Independent 9th Feb 2020 read more »