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Memories of the 28th Century

Ocean Currents

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There were several articles in my news feed about the Atlantic Ocean currents collapsing. It will be a disaster when the ocean currents collapse, because that will mean that the Earth has stopped rotating. Apparently, some people are pushing the idea that ocean currents are caused by something other than the Coriolis effect acting on the oceans.

The ocean currents exist, because the water is not firmly attached to the solid Earth. At the Equator, the surface of the Earth is moving about 1000 miles per hour (mph), and the water is moving almost that fast, until it whacks into the continent. I am thinking about the North Atlantic, because I am most familiar with that, but the same effects happen to all of the oceans.) When the Equatorial current gets to South America, it diverts to the north and gets into the Caribbean Sea, where the water warms. But the water behind it pushes the water along, and it exits back into the ocean at the Florida Strait, where the water is quite warm and moving relatively fast.
From the Florida Strait, the water is directed toward the north due to the Coriolis effect, and it continues along the East Coast of North America, until it meets more land especially Nova Scotia, which direct the current toward the east. From there, the current is going generally eastward, and the St. Lawrence River adds its water and push toward the East, and in the same area, some of the water in the current leaves and heads north in the the West Greenland Current. And the main current heads east toward Europe. East of Iceland, the water from the Arctic Ocean enter the Atlantic. That water is considerably cooler than the Atlantic water, so a large part of it sinks under the current, because colder water is denser. and some of it breaks off into eddies that circulate around and slowly warm. The Arctic water that goes under the oceanic water warms slowly, as it mixes with ocean water and cools that somewhat. Meanwhile, the current curls around the British Isles, and it is still warm enough to give County Kerry in Ireland a subtropical climate that supports palm trees. And the current continues to curl and head south, until it gets to Africa, which starts its curl to ward the Wed again.

The current and its direction are completely at the mercy of the Coriolis effect and the landmasses around the ocean. Temperature differences are only relevant to when the water warms in the Caribbean, and in the water for the Arctic Ocean. Climate change would not significantly change the ocean currents; they would continue, and they would warm some areas and cool other areas. The mixing of colder water would continue, until the Arctic Ocean warmed to the same temperature as the Atlantic.

There are possible changes to land forms that would change the currents, and changes of that sort have happened in the past. For example, the Antarctic Peninsula was attached to South America until about 35 million years ago. That separation greatly changed the world's climate, and turned Antarctica into the frozen land that it is now, but nothing like that is likely to happen in the near future. Is is conceivable that the Isthmus of Panama might break and the current might go through there, instead of circulating in the Caribbean an reentering the Atlantic at the Florida Strait. That probably would change climates on the East Coast of North America and in Northern Europe, but that isn't going to happen in the near future.

It is perfectly clear that climate change will not destroy the ocean currents, but the panic and disinformation that the climate change mavins are spreading about might destroy the world's economy by ruining some major industries, as they are trying to do to the energy sector and to the automobile industry.