Bracing against the wind  

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thermohaline Thrash

Back from Hawaii, and it's so cold on the mainland!

Got me thinking it's a thermohaline thrash.

The "thermohaline cycle" allows warm, low density, low-salinity water to flow north while cold, dense and salty water flows south. This is why England, even though it's so far north, isn't frozen.

"Thermohaline thrash" would be a new wrinkle where carbon warming causes Greenland melting, which slows down the thermohaline flow by reducing the salinity of the arctic water, this makes for a cooler arctic air winter, but this then increases salinity by causing more freezing, which fixes the slowdown, causing a hotter summer further down the line. These seasonal waves of hot/cold can overlap and interact chaotically, causing extreme seasons of hot summers and cold winters.

Thrash (rapid chaotic flipping between two states) is typical of dynamic systems undergoing transition to a new stable state.

Just like the stock market, prior performance is not a good indicator of future.

My bet is that this Anthropocene period will have a lot of unique features. Thermohaline thrashing might be one of them.

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