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Gulf Stream

2023 JUL 28

Preliminary   > Geography   >   Oceanography   >   Oceanography

Why in news?

  • According to a study, the Gulf Stream system could collapse as soon as 2025.

About Gulf Stream:

  • The Gulf Stream is a warm ocean current that brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean.
  • It extends all the way up the eastern coast of the United States and Canada.
  • It is a small part of something called the ‘thermohaline circulation’ or ‘Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation’.

Gulf Stream’s impact on weather and climate:

  • This strong current of warm water influences the climate of the east coast of Florida, keeping temperatures there warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than the other southeastern states. Since the Gulf Stream also extends toward Europe, it warms western European countries as well.
  • The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which includes the Gulf Stream, governs the climate by bringing warm, tropical waters north and cold water south.
  • The study estimates a timescale for the collapse of AMOC between 2025 and 2095 with a central estimate of 2050, if global carbon emissions are not reduced.
    • The last time AMOC stopped and restarted was during the Ice Ages about 115,000 to 12,000 years ago.

Impact of collapse of AMOC: 

  • A collapse of AMOC would have disastrous consequences around the world, severely disrupting the rains that billions of people depend on for food in India, South America and West Africa. 
  • It would also increase storms and drop temperatures in Europe, and lead to a rising sea level on the eastern coast of North America. It would also further endanger the Amazon rainforest and Antarctic ice sheets.
  • Also the most recent assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) would not collapse as quickly as the study has suggested.


Consider the following pairs:

Ocean Currents : Oceans

1. California             : Atlantic

2. Canaries               : Indian Ocean

3. Gulf Stream         : Pacific

How many of the pairs given are correctly matched?

(a) Only one pair

(b) Only two pairs

(c) All three pairs

(d) None of the pairs