What’s AMOC? Glad you asked! AMOC stands for Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, or in other words, the complex process of Atlantic ocean current, flow, or, as our guest Galen McKinley describes it, a conveyor belt around the rim of the Atlantic Ocean. Galen is a professor in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UW-Madison, and has done extensive research involving climate change in the North Atlantic. A simple explanation of this process involves another conveyor belt, this time up and down from surface to ocean floor. In the northern Atlantic, as cold water sinks down, this creates a vacuum pulling warm water north from the southern areas of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. But climate change may effect this process for better or worse. Melting glaciers and ice sheets, particularly the Greenland Ice Sheet, is draining freshwater into the salt water in the ocean. This may have a similar effect as warm and cold water. Current computer models on the effects of climate change have not usually included the melting ice sheet or a weak AMOC. But two separate research studies that did showed that the AMOC may be susceptible to collapse, or no circulation at all. Galen points out that new research within the last few years is in the process of gathering data on the AMOC.
About Perpetual Notion Machine
Perpetual Notion Machine is a look at contemporary scientific issues and discoveries in a way that is accessible, understandable and entertaining to the non-scientists of the listening community.