BBC News

Gulf Stream ‘is not slowing down’

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News

“The Gulf Stream does not appear to be slowing down, say US scientists who have used satellites to monitor tell-tale changes in the height of the sea.”

*****denotes Sky’s comments

****We need to know what scientists and what satellites and how the height of the sea can be used to measure ocean current flow.*****

******Of course, not being an Oceanographer, I cannot understand how a satellite can replace a flow meter for measuring the rate of current flow past a particular point across the Atlantic current.****

****There is a new satellite going up next month that will measure salinity.  Salinity is a major player in the conveyor belt action of the Atlantic current.  The more fresh water that mixes with the warm, salty surface water moving north, the lower in latitude will be drop which effectively terminates the flow. When the overturn and dropping of the heavier and cooled current occurs lower than the British Isles, then the average temperature will drop several degrees [ 4 to 6c] as is commonly known. If Artic ice and northern glaciers continue to melt, then the warm surface water will inevitably be pushed further south.  Since there are absolutely no other known factors at present that can drive temperatures down, then it seems obvious to me that this will happen.  It is just a matter of time.”

“Confirming work by other scientists using different methodologies, they found dramatic short-term variability but no longer-term trend.”

***I very much doubt if measurements have been going on long enough to establish a longer-term trend.  What is the definition of ‘longer-term?  10 years, 50 years, 100 years?  In an article by this correspondent 16 August, 2007 []  NOC’s Professor Harry Bryden said “But the reality is that anything we measure over 10 years even is going to be labelled interannual variability at the moment.”  In 2007, the National Oceanographic Centre in Southhampton reported the following:  “Last year the same UK-led team published evidence that the circulation may have weakened by about 30% over half a century. But that was based on historical records from just five sampling expeditions, raising concerns that the data was not robust enough to provide a clear-cut conclusion.”  I think somebody got their hands slapped over this reporting because even though the flow meters have been extended and copious data has been collected,  no spokesperson has emerged to make it clear, or at least clear to me, whether there is a downward turn of ocean current flow. *****

“The research is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.”

  **** I searched but cannot find anything there.  Of course, not having the document title makes it very difficult to find!!***

***There are hundreds of papers published here.  Richard Black cites us no references for which we can use to find the paper***

“Between 2002 and 2009, the team says, there was no trend discernible – just a lot of variability on short timescales.”  

****Has this satellite been up since 2002 collecting data?  If so then this “team” has been very quiet.  I wonder if this sudden assurance is due to the findings reported by theoretical physicist, Dr. Gianluigi Zangari, of the prestigious Research Division of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics at Frascati National Laboratories (LNF) of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics [] who claims that the Gulf stream or ‘loop current’ in the Gulf of Mexico has stopped and further suggests this is due to the BP oil spill cutting down the vorticity of the current [vorticity is simply put the ‘flowingness’ of water.]    Dr. Zangari claims that satellite photos show evidence of the loop current status.  Now, I don’t know how credible Dr. Zangari is or whether he is just a maverick or whether he is being ignored purposely.  I can’t even find a reference as to when and where Dr. Zangari published.  All I have so far is the word of a person who calls himself Stirling.  Stirling claims that Dr. Zangari said the following: “The Gulf Stream importance in the global climate themoregulation processes is well assessed. The latest real time satellite (Jason, Topex/Poseidon, Geosat Follow-On, ERS-2, Envisat) data maps of May-June 2010 processed by CCAR (Dolorado Center for Astrodynamics Research), checked at Frascati Laboratories by the means of the SHT congruent calculus and compared with past years data, show for the first time a direct evidence of the rapid breaking of the Loop Current, a warm ocean current, crucial part of the Gulf Stream”  Perhaps I have missed something?

Can anyone help me check this out? ***