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.

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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.

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As the French say, l’eek.

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