Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current(AMOC)

News:A new study has suggested that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current (AMOC) is getting help from the warming up of Indian Ocean.


About Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current(AMOC):

  • Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current(AMOC) is a large system of ocean currents operating In the Atlantic which circulates the water between the north and the south. 
  • AMOC ensures the oceans are continually mixed, and heat and energy are distributed around Earth.

How AMOC operates?

  • The AMOC is a large system of ocean currents like a conveyor belt, driven by differences in temperature and salt content – the water’s density.
  • As warm water flows northwards in the Atlantic, it cools, while evaporation increases its salt content.
  • The low temperature and high salt content makes the water denser and this dense water sinks deep into the ocean.
  • The cold, dense water deep below slowly spreads southward.Eventually, it gets pulled back to the surface and warms again and the circulation is complete.

About the study:

  • For thousands of years, Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) has remained stable.
  • But for the last 15 years,scientists have said that AMOC may be slowing which could have drastic consequences on global climate.
  • However, the rising temperatures in the Indian Ocean can help to boost the AMOC and delay slow down.
  • The study has said that warming in the Indian Ocean generates additional precipitation which in turn draws more air from other parts of the world, including the Atlantic. 
  • The higher level of precipitation in the Indian Ocean will reduce precipitation in the Atlantic and increase salinity in the waters.
  • This saltier water in the Atlantic will get cold much quicker than usual and sink faster.
  • The above process would act as a jump start for AMOC intensifying the circulation.