Fears of big freeze as scientists detect slower Gulf Stream

By Steve Connor, Science Editor, The Independent

Published: 01 December 2005

The ocean "engine" that helps to drive the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and keeps Britain relatively mild in winter has begun to slow down, say scientists.

Measurements of ocean currents in the North Atlantic reveal that they have weakened by about 30 per cent since 1992. The findings, published in the journal Nature, fit computer predictions of what would happen when Greenland glaciers begin to melt because of global warming. The models suggest that extra freshwater released into the North Atlantic could weaken ocean currents and even shut down the Gulf Stream.

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