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When will the melting of icecaps stop?

If the Greenland icecap continues to melt at the rate it is, at what point does the melting stop? The loss of the cold deep water sinks in the arctic must affect the Gulf Stream and if this diminishes, could the North Atlantic be in for another ice age?
Rowena Offen from Berkshire (Age 45-54)

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One Response

  1. In truth, it’s going to depend on when (if?) the temperatures around the Arctic stop rising. If we warm by a large enough amount it may well be that the ice doesn’t stop melting until all of it is gone.

    The loss of ice from the Arctic probably won’t affect the Gulf Stream directly, but it might affect the North Atlantic Drift that extends from it, and thus cause a localised cooling in north-west Europe, though most likely at least offset by the warming we’ll have already had by then.

    It’s not completely understood, there is an outside chance of something like that triggering an ice age, but it’s unlikely.

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