photo: Martin Male via flickr.
A couple days ago we learned that, at least for now, it doesn't appear that the Gulf Stream is slowing down because of our changing climate. But now, new research has discovered more about how 13,000 years ago a mega-flood of fresh water poured into the Atlantic and trigged the millennia-long mini ice age known as the Younger Dryas.The University of Sheffield's Mark Bateman told Reuters that what happened was a lake in North America about the size of the UK emptied into the North Atlantic very quickly.The lake is known as Lake Aggasiz, and formed in front of one of the large ice sheets covering what is now Canada. Which we knew.
What Bateman discovered, and is detailed in the journal Nature, is the exact route the flood took.
Water Entered Arctic Ocean First
Previously it was presumed that it exited through the Saint Lawrence Seaway and into the Atlantic directly, but by studying sediment deposits it looks like the Gulf Stream disrupting, temperature dropping mega flood entered the ocean through the MacKenzie River--meaning the fresh water first poured into the Arctic Ocean, not the Atlantic.
Bringing this back to the present, the fear (again, so far not borne out) is that a rapidly melting Greenland (which is happening) could pour enough fresh water into the ocean that it could again disrupt temperatures across Europe.
More on Global Climate Change:
No Day After Tomorrow Yet: Gulf Stream Doesn't Appear To Be Slowing Down
Really Abrupt Climate Change Really Happened
Ocean Saltiness Provides Early Warning System for Climate Change