Thermohaline Circulation, the Achilles Heel of Our Climate System: Will Man-Made CO2 Upset the Current Balance? In Science 278 no. 5343 pp. 1582-1588, November 28, 1997

Washington DC: The American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1997. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL PICTORIAL WRAPPERS OF AN IMPORTANT PAPER BY BROECKER, “ONE OF THE WORLD’S LEADING CLIMATE EXPERTS” (Lippsett, Broecker Warns Gases Could Alter Climate Oceans' Circulation Could Collapse, Columbia Record, 1997). Often referred to as “the grandfather of climate science,” in this paper Broecker warned of complex and globally interconnected ocean currents that that govern our climate by transporting heat and moisture around the planet (Washington Post, 2.19.19). He termed those currents ‘the conveyor.’

Broecker “has single-handedly pushed more under¬standing than probably anybody in our field…He is intellectually so huge in how the earth system works and what its history is that all of us are following [him] in some way or another’” (Lippsett). In this paper, Broecker employed novel dating techniques, studied ice cores, and quantified and synthesized his research and that of others. In doing so, he found “evidence of sudden changes in the ocean’s deep currents which he traced to rising temperatures and linked to further shifts in Earth’s climate” (ibid).

“From a vast and relatively unchanging body of water, [Broecker] found that the oceans formed a delicate system, highly susceptible to changes in climate. While water was long believed to circulate from the surface to the deep seas only over the course of thousands of years, Dr. Broecker’s research indicated that it flowed from one region to another remarkably quickly, as part of what he dubbed the ‘great ocean conveyor belt’” (WP, 2019). “As the currents changed, wind, temperature and storm patterns changed as well — sometimes in a matter of years, rather than centuries or millennia. Broecker believed the great ocean conveyor belt the “Achilles’ heel of the climate system,” hence the title of this paper (Lippsett).

Putting his research in an historical context Broecker, noted that “During the last glacial period, Earth’s climate underwent frequent large and abrupt global changes. This behavior appears to reflect the ability of the ocean’s thermohaline circulation to assume more than one mode of operation. The record in ancient sedimentary rocks suggests that similar abrupt changes plagued the Earth at other times” (Broecker, 1997, 1582). These global climatic flip-flops may have been set in motion by sudden switches in the operation of the Conveyor – currents highly vulnerable to the ongoing increase in atmospheric CO2 levels. Broecker wrote with concern that this may trigger further abrupt changes in climate. Item #1409

CONDITION & DETAILS: Washington DC: The American Association for the Advancement of Science. 8vo. Original pictorial wrappers with minor scuffing. The issue bears the address label of Gary L. Bennett. Bennett’s work at the NASA, the DOE, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and at NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Applications) is well-detailed on Wikipedia. Clean throughout. Very good condition.

Price: $250.00

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