Speaking of Oil Drum, they remind me to point to a new study in Nature (sorry, $30) showing that Atlantic Ocean currents are shifting — which, if verified, could portend a climatic worst case scenario.

The ocean current that gives western Europe its relatively balmy climate is stuttering, raising fears that it might fail entirely and plunge the continent into a mini ice age.

The dramatic finding comes from a study of ocean circulation in the North Atlantic, which found a 30% reduction in the warm currents that carry water north from the Gulf Stream.

Harry Bryden at the Southampton Oceanography Centre in the UK, whose group carried out the analysis, says he is not yet sure if the change is temporary or signals a long-term trend. "We don’t want to say the circulation will shut down," he told New Scientist. "But we are nervous about our findings. They have come as quite a surprise."

This is potentially Very Bad News. Atlantic currents carry warm water to Northern Europe. If they stop, weather there could get mighty cold — ice-age cold.

But as Stuart Staniford ominously notes (in quite a bit of technical detail, but fascinatingly): if all that warm water isn’t going north, where … ?

Smack into the region where North Atlantic hurricanes form, that’s where it’s going.

As the French say, l’eek.