Blue spot on map reveals a warning for the climate

But the cooling, they say, is not out of place at all — it is exactly what climate models expected. 
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It is related to the slowdown in the Gulf Stream System, also known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC — a vital system of ocean currents underpinning the global climate system.The red is driving the blueIt’s clear from Hawkins’ map that the greatest warming on Earth is happening in the Arctic Circle area, where temperatures are rising at about 3 times the pace of the global average. The Gulf Stream is responsible for transporting about 20% of the excess heat gathered at the Equator towards the North Pole, as the Earth works to equalize the imbalance of heating between the tropics and poles. CBS News

“It is clear that the climate models have consistently suggested this would happen,” Hawkins said. “When temperatures do odd things in one place, you can bet that abnormalities of different sorts will happen in neighboring areas,” said Francis. Professor Ed Hawkins

Hawkins’ color scheme focuses the eye on a few key spots with an important story to tell. 

Below the dark red of the rapidly warming Arctic region, there’s a big blue bullseye to the south of Greenland, in the North Atlantic, which is often called the “cold blob” or “warming hole.” That dark blue bullseye, indicating cooling temperatures, might seem like an encouraging development on a warming planet, but it’s actually quite the opposite — a warning sign that a vital linchpin in the climate system is malfunctioning.   “When I first saw this new image, it clicked in my head — wow! Pershing says the massive snowfalls that hit Boston during a cold snap in 2015 were likely made bigger by the fact that the ocean was unusually warm that winter. The area off the northeast U.S. This, in turn, may impact weather patterns such as heat waves and storms coming off the Atlantic. Areas in dark red are warming much faster than average, such as the Arctic. Kris Karnauskas from the Oceans and Climate Lab at University of Colorado, Boulder. That normally brings with it cold water. This rapid ice melt from Greenland, scientists say, is what’s responsible for that big blue bullseye of regional cooling in Hawkins’ image.  It is not just marine life that is impacted. “The waters off Rhode Island have warmed beyond the comfort zone of lobsters and the fishery there has declined considerably. But how a climate scientist chooses to visualize that data can really help to communicate vital clues about the climate system. coast is warming much faster than the rest of the ocean, indicated by the darker red. 

Kris Karnauskas

The warming of the waters off the northeastern U.S. East Coast as a whole have warmed 3 to 4 times the global average over the last 30 years, and the region off the New England coast is warming faster than 99% of the rest of the ocean. 

Trends in Atlantic Ocean warming, from Dr. In the North Atlantic, that sinking water east of Greenland typically winds its way southwestward into the Gulf of Maine, known as the Labrador Current. Areas in light blue are also warming, but more slowly than average. But as the North Atlantic freshens and the sinking lessens, the Labrador Current is losing its vigor, pumping less cold water southward.   Pershing says this regional warming has had a big impact on marine life in the region. Andrew Pershing, the director of Climate Science at Climate Central and an expert on warming oceans, especially the Gulf of Maine, says the waters off the U.S. This is throwing the Gulf Stream System out of balance. And while a few degrees of warming may not sound like much, it’s enough to be catastrophic to Earth’s living systems. That is because the Gulf Stream System relies on cold, dense, salty water to sink in the northern Atlantic for “overturning” to occur, to drive the circulation and to keep it flowing. It puts into a much clearer perspective how unevenly the Earth’s temperatures are changing.”   Both Francis and Hawkins say the stark contrast between red and blue in the same general area at high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere tells a story of a climate system out of balance. The region of dark blue near southern Greenland is not warming at all and has even cooled some. Hawkins points out that land is warming faster than the global average. “Although we may talk about, say, 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) [of warming] globally, that really means 3 degrees C (or sometimes more) over land regions,” he pointed out. Recently, Ed Hawkins, the professor who created the now famous Warming Stripes visualization (read more about that here), from the University of Reading in the U.K., tweeted out a clever and eye-opening map, with shades of red and blue representing the amount of warming relative to other parts of the Earth. 

Map shows the relative warming of surface temperatures as compared to other parts of the planet. That floating sea ice does not contribute to sea level rise, but less ice means amplified warming — a warming feedback loop which quickens the pace of global warming.It’s this amplified warming of the Arctic that’s causing Greenland’s ice to melt 6 times faster than it did in the 1990s. In fact, since 1970 snowfall in Boston has been trending upward, a possible side effect of a warmer ocean adding more moisture to storm systems. coast, and more specifically in the Gulf of Maine, are a direct consequence of the slowdown of the Gulf Stream System. And they say it’s all connected: The rapid warming is driving what might seem like an out-of-place cooling spot. But fresh water is lighter and does not sink as readily. and very warm waters off the U.S. Due to rapid warming, Arctic sea ice extent during its yearly minimum has been sliced in half. “When temperatures do odd things…”: How this map reveals a warning for the climate

By Jeff Berardelli

May 13, 2021 / 12:33 PM
/ CBS News

NOAA releases new climate normals

NOAA releases new climate normals

04:27

No matter how you display it, for decades climate data has conveyed the clear and consistent trend of a rapidly warming Earth. “So clear, so simple, so disturbing.  It’s also likely that hurricanes will be able to maintain more intensity farther north as they feed off of warmer waters caused by both the direct impacts of climate heating in the area and the slowdown of the Gulf Stream System.Although a recent study found that by the end of the century there is some chance the Gulf Stream System could hit a tipping point, eventually leading to collapse, both Francis and Hawkins believe a full collapse of the system seems unlikely anytime soon. “I think it is unlikely that the AMOC will undergo any sort of rapid ‘collapse’ but we can expect that the circulation will slow further and that the North Atlantic will continue to warm more slowly than most of the rest of the planet,” Hawkins said.Besides the big blue bullseye in Hawkins’ visualization, there are some other features on the map that stand out. Here’s how it happens.When ice melts from Greenland, fresh water is flushed into the salty waters of the North Atlantic. And because humans are land-dwelling beings, more rapid warming on land means even more impact on everything from human health to growing food. “All the things most people really care about — food, wildlife, sports, spring allergies, forest fires, their personal comfort — are being affected by human-caused warming much faster than the gradual warming of the globe would imply,” warns Francis.   
First published on May 13, 2021 / 12:33 PM But since 1950, the Gulf Stream System has slowed down by 15% due to the freshening of the North Atlantic from ice-melt induced by human-caused climate change. It is now moving at the slowest it has in at least 1,600 years, and research shows that the system will likely continue to weaken, perhaps slowing by 45% by the end of the century. Jennifer Francis, senior scientist at the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Massachusetts. On the flip side, warming has put Maine in the sweet spot for lobsters, and catches there have surged, at least for now,” explains Pershing. I knew it was a keeper that needed to be shown far and wide,” said Dr. Research shows that this cold blob in the North Atlantic helps drive summer heat waves in northern Europe, heavy precipitation events in the U.K. Francis notes that the Northern Hemisphere land areas, in particular, really jump out as places warming much faster than the rest of the globe. East Coast. Dr. Furthermore, Pershing says cold-water species like codfish and right whales have been faring poorly as the waters off New England have warmed, but warm-water species like black sea bass are expanding northward. CBS News animation showing why the Atlantic Meridional Circulation (Gulf Stream System) is slowing down. Saltwater is dense, heavy, and sinks.