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Science. 1997 Nov 28;278(5343):1582-8.

Thermohaline circulation, the achilles heel of our climate system: will man-made CO2 upset the current balance?

Author information

  • The author is at The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA.

Abstract

During the last glacial period, Earth's climate underwent frequent large and abrupt global changes. This behavior appears to reflect the ability of the ocean's thermohaline circulation to assume more than one mode of operation. The record in ancient sedimentary rocks suggests that similar abrupt changes plagued the Earth at other times. The trigger mechanism for these reorganizations may have been the antiphasing of polar insolation associated with orbital cycles. Were the ongoing increase in atmospheric CO2 levels to trigger another such reorganization, it would be bad news for a world striving to feed 11 to 16 billion people.

PMID:
9374450
[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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