Is there an ice-age coming?

Gulf stream map

Gulf stream map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Gulf Stream

I would like to acknowledge a debt of gratitude to Guy McPherson, Paul Beckwith, Sam Carana, Robertscribbler, and others in helping me to write this.

This refers to a phenomenon that is likely to be regional (affecting Britain most of all) and temporary. In the end Heat will trump.

An ‘Ice Age‘ coming?
The weakening Gulf Stream

Yesterday the above picture was posted, of Atlantic ocean currents. It elicited the following comment from nuclear scientist Prof Chris Busby.

Gulf stream seems to failing. i have noticed increasingly the depressions get stuck in mid – Atlantic. we have had stuck depressions mid Atlantic since November and a continuous high over Scandinavia which means high winds and rain in England and cold easterlies […]

Although he is not a climate scientist he is sufficiently tuned-in for some of us to take this seriously and for me to seek out some expert opinions.

This from Robertscribbler
Absolutely true. Writing an article based on this, among other things, right now. The Gulf Stream is very weak and continues to weaken….
…The Gulf Stream has decreased in strength by about 10 to 15 percent since 2004. This is largely due to increasing melt outflows from Greenland and due to ocean current changes in the Arctic and extreme North Atlantic. Greenland melt is likely to continue to increase over the coming decades. So we should see a continued weakening and southward diversion of the Gulf Stream.”
Sam Carana of the Global Methane Emergency Group had a slightly different take
“What’s important is that the Gulf Stream keeps pushing warm salty water into the Arctic Ocean, contributing to methane erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic ocean, threatening to escalate into runaway warming.”
I’ve got no argument with either point-of-view really, but in general I am in favour of explanations that can fit in multiple explanations rather than reduce everything down to one single cause.
The Global Methane Emergency Group are doing stirling work and I cannot argue with anything other than their firm advocacy of geoengineering as a techno-fix.Their science is 100 per cent sound in my very humble opinion.
However, they are looking at just one positive, self-reinforcing feedback mechanism – methane release: there are many feedbacks that have been identified by Guy McPherson (I have lost count of how many – at least 25).
One of these is the weakening of thermohaline circulation.
There is today more confirmation that heat is the thing that will kill us all in the end, bringing to an end to conditions that are capable of supporting life, let alone agriculture and other aspects of human civilisation.
However, as the Arctic ice melts (and I suspect the next tipping point may be the disappearance of Arctic summer ice, replaced by dark water that absorbs, rather than reflecting sunlight) – we are sure to see a further weakening of the Gulf Stream, as well as in other areas such as the Antarctica.
This could indeed lead to a regional and temporary “ice age” before the heating takes over the entire globe.
It could take just a few weeks, perhaps months but not years. Something to think about?
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