The gulf Stream, scheduled shutdown?

Black scenario at the White House. If the Gulf Stream stops ...

global warming melting of the poles + = + stop ocean current panic on the planet.

This is the equation given by two American researchers to George W. Bush, who hastened… to bury it!

Some reports chilling. That have written Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall at the request of the Pentagon entitled: "Think the unthinkable." We would normally never have to hear about George Bush did not want it published. But there are always leaks. "The unthinkable" has been unveiled in late February. In short: it will be cold and it will heat the planet. The cold is for the climate. The hot, it is the enormous conflict that cooling may result.

To those who naively believe that we are in a period of global warming that will result in future heat waves repeatedly, remember, as do Schwartz and Randall, that nothing is simple climate issues. And it has happened in the past that heat causes episodes of Siberian temperatures in Europe and elsewhere. It was no long: 12600 years ago, a period that geologists call the Younger Dryas. The climate then was roughly the same as today, even if the sea levels were significantly lower. But the warm Gulf Stream already bathed the coasts of Europe to Norway, and all was well. Too much, because with the heat Arctic ice began to melt. And spread themselves at once gigantic glacial meltdown in the entire North Atlantic. With an unexpected consequence: this freshwater input blocked the Gulf Stream, this "gigantic hydraulic conveyor belt" that runs through the world's oceans sometimes surface, sometimes in depth, in the words of French paléoclimatologue Jean-Claude Duplessy (1).

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Made lighter by this freshwater film, the Gulf Stream stopped mixing with the densest waters of the seabed. The famous current that could not dive to continue his ocean race was slowed considerably. Immediate consequences: in less than seventy years, Europe found herself diving in full ice age. The British Isles knew the climate of Siberia. And ice, winter, down off the coast of Portugal! The episode lasted a thousand years before the great current furnace did switches on again.

This is exactly what the Pentagon experts are telling us: a new Dryas, a severe cold snap on Europe, with all the consequences that would follow, all over the world. Because the cold would lead to drought, would disrupt the monsoons as far as Southeast Asia. Famine threatens 400 million people. We would then fight for survival, including with nuclear bombs, for water, for food, until the world population, write the authors, has returned to a level compatible with very impaired food capacities. of the planet…

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We spare you the details of this nightmare scenario that Schwartz and Randall are in 2010 start. Their recommendation: to transform the US into a kind of fortress capable of withstanding the onslaught of hungry the rest of the planet. But not a word about the need to fight against the emission of greenhouse gas, including the United States are primarily responsible.

This discreet silence was not enough to George Bush, for whom any mention of the consequences of global warming is heresy. He therefore set against the basket, as he does regularly - Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman counted 21 cases at least - when scientists paid by the government go against the ideas or interests of the President.
Should we fear the global quasi-war that we announce the experts of the Pentagon? Not sure. Themselves take some precautions, speak of plausible assumptions. But, they add, they study all the scenarios.

Jean-Claude Duplessy, for his part, would tend to qualify this kind of literature as “military delirium”. But he recognizes, however, that "things are moving in the North Atlantic". First, because the salinity of the water has dropped there. Then because in one of the three straits through which the Gulf Stream rushes into the Norwegian Sea, the speed of the great ocean current has fallen by 20% since the mid-1990s. Elsewhere, the measurements have not yet been taken. do. Add to this that the ice in Greenland could well start to melt if the temperatures rise by more than 2 ° C, the most optimistic forecast for the end of the century… Are we going to condemn our grandchildren to live a new ice age? Hard to say. As Jean-Claude Duplessy underlines: “This is the first time in the known history of the planet that we are going to go from one hot period to another, even hotter. And there, we are totally lacking in benchmarks! ”

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(1) Author of "When the ocean is angry: natural history of climate" by Editions Odile Jacob, 1996.

Gerard Petitjean, Nouvel Observateur No. 2059, 22 / 02 / 05: NouvelObs

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