Stefan Rahmstorf - Evidence for a weakening Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation

Event type: 
28 August 2019
2.00pm - 3.00pm

Climate Change Research Centre, Seminar Room, Mathews Building 4th floor, UNSW, Sydney

Prof. Stefan Rahmstorf
Postdam University
Climate Change Research Centre

Possible changes in Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), sometimes referred to as the Gulf Stream System, provide a key source of uncertainty regarding future climate change. Maps of temperature trends over the twentieth century show a conspicuous region of cooling in the northern Atlantic, as well as excessive warming along the North American coast. Both combined are a ‘fingerprint’ characteristic of an AMOC slowdown by about 15%, unique in the past millennium or more. A number of studies of the past few years confirm this diagnosis. Continued melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet in the coming decades could contribute to further weakening of the AMOC, with important consequences for the ocean ecosystem, the weather in the wider North Atlantic region, and the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide.



Brief Biography: Stefan Rahmstorf is the Professor of Physics of the Oceans at Potsdam University and Co-Chair of Earth System Analysis at the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact research. He received his Ph.D. in oceanography from Victoria University of Wellington in 1990 and since then he has worked on a great variety of subjects related with the climate system  including sea level rise, ocean's thermohaline circulation, tipping points and extreme weather events. Stefan is one of the most influential climate scientists in the world for his academic work and for his contributions to climate science communication and policies.