According to a recent study, among the consequences of the melting of Antarctic ice, there would also be a rapid slowdown of deep ocean currents. Among the negative effects of an excessive melting of the glaciers that today cover Antarctica there is not only the rise in sea levels, but also a destabilization of sea currents, even the deepest ones.
Global warming, by pushing up the mercury column, is bringing temperatures at the poles ever closer to zero, ever closer to the melting point.
The currents that flow in the deep sea 4000 meters from the ocean surface originate in cold, dense waters that descend from the continental shelf of Antarctica, and then spread into ocean basins around the world.
Changes of this magnitude have already occurred in the past, but certainly not at this rate. In fact, what worries scientists is the speed at which all this is happening. We're talking about changes that take 1,000 years, but are happening in just a few decades.
Research carried out by Australian scientists and published in Nature, in fact, has highlighted how the melting of Antarctic ice could, in just 3 decades, lead to a rapid slowdown of deep currents. In fact, currents could slow by 40% by 2050.
According to scientists, the large spill of fresh water into the surrounding marine waters could not only raise sea levels, but also alter weather patterns and deprive marine life of a vital source of nutrients. The study didn't delve into the consequences of this dynamic, but the authors said the slowing of the current would profoundly alter the oceanic overturn of heat, fresh water, oxygen, carbon and nutrients, with impacts in all the globe's oceans for centuries.
to come. When fresh water is released from Antarctic ice, it slides into the ocean depths thus diluting the salinity of the ocean waters, which thus become less dense and not heavy enough to sink as they have hitherto done, and push the underlying water elsewhere.
An important engine of the world's ocean currents would therefore be interrupted, with important consequences not only at a local level.