Transcript: Could the Gulf Stream Collapse? | Sep 27, 2021

Steve Paikin sits in a corner. He has short, dark, curly hair and wears white shirt and red tie. Pictures hang on the walls beside him as well as a small flag of Ontario.

Steve says, WE'VE SEEN PLENTY OF
EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS THIS
YEAR.
THOSE WOULD LOOK LIKE A WALK IN
THE PARK, APPARENTLY, IF CLIMATE
CHANGE LED TO A DISRUPTION OF
THE GULF STREAM.

The Agenda logo, the letter a and a period, appears in the bottom left. Text reads, could the Gulf Stream collapse? Above is the Twitter logo, a bird, with text that reads, @spaikin, @theagenda.

Steve says, EXPERTS ARE KEEPING A CLOSE
WATCH ON THAT AND WE ARE JOINED
BY THREE OF THEM:
IN VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA:
BRAD DEYOUNG, PROFESSOR OF
PHYSICS AND PHYSICAL
OCEANOGRAPHY AT NEWFOUNDLAND AND
LABRADOR'S MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY;

Brad DeYoung wears glasses. He smiles.

Steve says, IN VANCOUVER, BC:
STEPHANIE WATERMAN, PROFESSOR OF
EARTH AND ATMOSPHERIC
SCIENCES, AT UBC.

Stephanie Waterman has shoulder length brown hair. She smiles.

Steve says, AND IN MIDTOWN IN ONTARIO'S
PROVINCIAL CAPITAL:

A man wearing headphones smiles.

Steve says, KENT MOORE, PROFESSOR OF
ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS AT UTM:
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
MISSISSAUGA.


AND WE'RE GRATEFUL TO HAVE THE THREE
OF YOU ON TVO TONIGHT FOR A
DISCUSSION, I MUST CONFESS, I
HAVE NOT SEEN OR HEARD MUCH
ABOUT, WHICH IS ALL THE MORE
IMPORTANT A REASON WHY WE SHOULD
DO IT HERE TONIGHT.
AND JUST TO SET THIS UP, LET ME READ
THIS EXCERPT FROM THE NEW YORK
TIMES ABOUT THE GULF STREAM
SYSTEM:
THE TIME SAYS, IT IS ONE OF THE
MIGHTIEST RIVERS YOU WILL NEVER SEE…

Steve quotes Moise Velasquez-Manoff and Jeremy White, The New York (Feb. 3, 2021). Text reads, a heat pump on a planetary scale.

Steve quotes, …CARRYING SOME 30
TIMES MORE WATER THAN ALL THE
WORLD’S FRESHWATER RIVERS COMBINED.
IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC, ONE ARM OF
THE GULF’S STREAM BREAKS TOWARDS
ICELAND, TRANSPORTING VAST
AMOUNTS OF WARMTH FAR NORTHWARD,
BY ONE ESTIMATE SUPPLYING
SCANDINAVIA WITH HEAT EQUIVALENT
TO 78,000 TIMES ITS CURRENT ENERGY
USE.
WITHOUT THIS CURRENT - A HEAT PUMP
ON A PLANETARY SCALE - SCIENTISTS
BELIEVE THAT GREAT SWATHS OF THE
WORLD MIGHT LOOK QUITE DIFFERENT.

Steve says, LET'S DIVE INTO
THIS.
STEPHANIE, HOW WOULD YOU
CHARACTERIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF
THE GULF STREAM FOR OUR CLIMATE
AND WEATHER AND OUR WORLD AS WE
KNOW IT?

Text reads, could the Gulf Stream collapse?, how it shapes the climate.

Stephanie Waterman says, YEAH,
WELL, I THINK, UM, THE NEW YORK TIMES
ARTICLE DOES EXPRESS HOW
IMPORTANT IT IS.
SO THE GULF STREAM IS ONE OF THE
OCEAN'S MAIN WAYS OF
TRANSPORTING HEAT FROM LOWER
LATITUDES UP TO HIGHER
LATITUDES.

Text reads, Stephanie Waterman, University of British Columbia.

Stephanie Waterman says, SO WE GET A LOT MORE ENERGY FROM
THE SUN, UH, NEAR THE EQUATOR AND A
LOT LESS AT THE POLES, AND, AND, UH, THE
ROLE OF THIS HEAT TRANSPORT IS TO
SPREAD SOME OF THAT HEAT OUT AND
IT LETS THE CLIMATE AT MORE
NORTHERLY LATITUDES BE A LOT
WARMER THAN THEY WOULD OTHERWISE
BE.
VERY IMPORTANT FOR CLIMATE
DYNAMICS.

Steve says, KENT, WHAT WOULD YOU
ADD TO THAT IN TERMS OF OUR
TRULY UNDERSTANDING THE
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS GULF
STREAM?

Kent Moore says, WELL ANYONE WHO HAS
VISITED LET'S SAY THE U.K. AND
THEN GONE TO LABRADOR, THEY'RE
ABOUT THE SAME LATITUDE, SO YOU’D
EXPECT THEM TO HAVE
SIMILAR SORTS OF CLIMATES.

Text reads, Kent Moore, University of Toronto.

Kent Moore says, THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE IN
NORTHERN SCOTLAND IS ABOUT 10°
CELSIUS AND THE AVERAGE
TEMPERATURE IN LABRADOR IS BELOW
ZERO.
SO, YOU CAN JUST SEE THE KIND OF
HUGE IMPACT THAT THAT HEAT HAS.
IT MAKES WIDE SWATHS OF NORTHERN
EUROPE, UH, MUCH MORE HABITABLE THAN
THEY WOULD BE IF IN FACT THE
GULF STREAM WASN'T TRANSPORTING
THAT HEAT NORTHWARDS.

Steve says, AND JUST FOLLOW UP, IF
YOU WOULD: WHY DOES IT SEEM TO
GET SHORT SHRIFT?
I, I TALKED TO A NUMBER OF PEOPLE
ABOUT THIS AND THEY DIDN'T KNOW
ABOUT THIS.

Kent Moore says, GO AHEAD, BRAD.

Brad DeYoung says, YOU KNOW, WE’VE ONLY
REALLY KNOWN THE GULF STREAM WAS
THERE FOR ABOUT, WELL, 2,
A LITTLE MORE THAN 200
YEARS.
IT WAS BENJAMIN FRANKLIN WHO
FIRST MAPPED IT OUT.

Text reads, Brad DeYoung, Memorial University.

Brad DeYoung says, HE WAS THE POSTMASTER GENERAL
FOR THE NEW ENGLAND COLONIES AND
HE MAPPED OUT UH, HOW QUICK SHIPS
WOULD UH, TRANSIT BACK AND FORTH TO
THE COLONIES FROM, FROM BRITAIN AND
FOUND THAT THERE WAS THIS STRONG
CURRENT THERE AND THEN SHOWED
HOW SHIPS COULD USE IT GOING
BACK AND FORTH.
BUT SINCE HAVING KIND OF
DISCOVERED THAT, I THINK OUR
GENERAL PERCEPTION IS THAT THE
GULF STREAM IS, IS A PERSISTENT
FEATURE OF THE OCEAN AND
UNLIKELY TO CHANGE.
I THINK THAT'S HOW ALL OF US SEE
THE WORLD AROUND US, THAT, YOU
KNOW, IT’S, IT'S THERE, OF COURSE IT'S
GOING TO BE THERE TOMORROW AND
IT'S NOT UH, GOING TO CHANGE.
BUT THE OTHER PART OF IT IS THE
GULF STREAM IS TIED TO A KIND OF
COMPLEX WIND PATTERN THAT UH, SPINS
THE WATER AROUND THE ATLANTIC
BASIN, AND I THINK EVEN A LOT OF
SCIENTISTS FELT THAT THIS WIND
PATTERN REALLY WASN'T LIKELY TO
CHANGE VERY MUCH AND THAT
THEREFORE, YOU KNOW, IT, IT SHOULD
BE PRETTY RELIABLE.
IT TURNS OUT IT MAY NOT BE AS
RELIABLE AS WE HAD THOUGHT.

Steve says, WELL, BRAD, I WANT
YOU TO, WHILE YOU HAVE THE FLOOR,
PICK UP THE STORY WITH
SOMETHING, AGAIN, THAT I HAD NOT
HEARD OF BEFORE CALLED THE
ATLANTIC, HMM, MERIDIONAL,
OVERTURNING, CIRCULATION, AMOC,
A-M-O-C.
WHAT IS THAT?

Brad DeYoung laughs.

He says, OKAY, I FEEL LIKE
WE SHOULD BE ON SESAME STREET.
WE SHOULD HAVE A, BIG BIRD OR
SOMETHING AND, EXPLAINING HOW TO
PRONOUNCE "MERIDIONAL," WHICH
JUST REALLY MEANS NORTH-SOUTH
TRANSPORT.
AND THIS WHOLE AMOC DISCUSSION
IS TIED TO, TO WHAT STEPHANIE
DESCRIBED, THE ROLE OF THE GULF
STREAM, WHICH IS JUST ONE PART
OF THAT CIRCULATION, AND THE
GULF STREAM IS CARRYING WARM
WATER TO THE POLES.
SO IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT FOR A
BIT, IF IT WERE PUSHING A BUNCH OF
WARM WATER TO THE POLE, THEN
EITHER THE POLES ARE GETTING
FILLED UP WITH WATER OR THERE'S
SOME RETURN FLOW SOMEWHERE ELSE.
AND WHAT HAPPENS IS THERE'S COLD
WATER THAT SINKS UNDERNEATH THE
WARM WATER AND SPREADS SOUTHWARD
TOWARDS THE EQUATOR AND THEN
THROUGH THE GLOBAL OCEANS, AND
IT'S THAT MOVEMENT OF THE WARM
WATER SOUTH AT THE SURFACE AND
THEN THE COLD WATER UNDERNEATH
IT THAT'S THE BIGGER PICTURE,
THE AMOC.
SO THE GULF STREAM'S ROLE IS THE
SURFACE HEAT TRANSPORT.
THE REST OF THE TRANSPORT IS
UNDERNEATH, UH, AT THE, IN THE DEEP OCEAN.
AND SO THIS IS THE WAY IN WHICH
THIS CLIMATE CONTROL SYSTEM THAT
WE HAVE, THE WARM WATER MOVING
NORTHWARD AND THE COLD WATER
MOVING SOUTHWARD, UH, CONTROLS OR
ADJUSTS OUR CLIMATE AND WHY IT'S
SO IMPORTANT, IF IT GOT
DISRUPTED, THAT THE CLIMATE
AROUND UM, FOR THE REST OF US WHO
LIVE IN THE ATMOS, FOR
THOSE OF US WHO LIVE IN THE
ATMOSPHERE, WOULD BE UH, WOULD BE MESSED UP.

Steve says, NOW, KENT, I THINK
WE HAVE A BIT OF A VIDEO
PRESENTATION HERE THAT MAY
FURTHER REFLECT WHAT WE JUST
HEARD.

Kent nods.

Steve says, SO I'M GOING TO ASK OUR
DIRECTOR, SHELDON OSMOND, TO
ROLL THAT VIDEO, PLEASE.
AND, KENT, AS WE WATCH IT, MAYBE
JUST DESCRIBE WHAT WE'RE SEEING.

An animation of the Earth slowly turns. Text reads, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio/nasa.gov.

Kent Moore says, SURE.
SO THIS IS AN ANIMATION FROM
NASA.
AND SO WHAT YOU SEE HERE NOW IS THE
WARM WATER MOVING NORTHWARDS UP
INTO THAT AREA WHERE IT’S KINDA
DARK, THAT'S THE GULF STREAM AND
THE NORTH ATLANTIC DRIFT.
AND THEN NOW, AS YOU ZOOM IN, WHAT YOU
CAN SEE NOW ARE THE, THESE ARROWS ARE, ARE
DESCENDING AND THAT'S UH, WHEN THE UH,
WARM WATER MOVES NORTHWARDS,
IT'S LOSING HEAT AND MOISTURE TO
THE ATMOSPHERE.
THAT WATER BECOMES DENSE AND IT
SINKS IN A PROCESS THAT WE CALL
CONVECTION.
IT'S EXACTLY THE SAME PROCESS
THAT OCCURS IN A POT OF, OF WATER.
THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IN THE OCEAN
IS THAT THE CONVECTION’S UPSIDE
DOWN, SO THE, ESSENTIALLY THE UH, HEAVY
WATER SINKS TO THE BOTTOM
INSTEAD OF WARM AIR RISING WHICH
HAPPENS IN THE AT, ATMOSPHERE.
SO THAT'S WHAT'S HAPPENING.
UH, AND SO THAT LOSS OF HEAT AND MOISTURE AT
HIGH NORTHERN LATITUDES IS
REALLY CRUCIAL, BECAUSE IF THAT
DOESN'T HAPPEN, THEN, AS BRAD
SAID, THE GULF STREAM CAN'T
TRANSPORT HEAT, ANY MORE WATER
NORTHWARDS, IT HAS TO KIND OF
WEAKEN OR SHIFT SOUTHWARDS.

Steve says, NOW, STEPHANIE, IN
TERMS OF COMPREHENDING THE
VASTNESS AND SHEER SORT OF SIZE
AND POWER OF THIS THING, UM, WELL,
LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY.
ASTRONOMERS OFTEN, OFTEN TALK ABOUT HOW
DIFFICULT IT IS FOR OUR BRAINS
TO RALLY COMPREHEND THE VASTNESS
OF THE UNIVERSE.
DO WE HAVE THAT SAME PROBLEM AS
IT RELATE, RELATES TO THE VASTNESS OF
THE GULF STREAM?

Stephanie looks thoughtful.

Stephanie Waterman says, I THINK
SO.
I THINK THE, THE SCALES OF, OF THE
GULF STREAM, FOR EXAMPLE, AND
MANY OF THE, THE FEATURES IN THE
OCEAN ON A PLANETARY SCALE
ARE MUCH LARGER THAN THE ONES
WE'RE USED TO DEALING WITH.

Text reads, Stephanie Waterman, University of British Columbia.

Stephanie Waterman says, THE DIMENSIONS OF THE GULF
STREAM, THE, THE WIDTH OF THIS STREAM
OF WATER AND ITS DEPTH VARIES
ALONG ITS PATH, BUT IT CAN BE UP
TO 100 KILOMETRES WIDE AND IT
CAN EXTEND THROUGH THE WHOLE
OCEAN DEPTH SO UP TO 4,000 METRES
TALL.
SOMEONE ONCE UH, TOLD ME THE
TRANSPORT OF THE GULF STREAM IN
TERMS OF, UH, IN, IN THE CONTEXT OF AN
ARMY, HOW MANY, HOW MANY SOLDIERS WALKING
BY PER SECOND.
SO THE TRANSPORT, WE MEASURE
THE TRANSPORT, THE VOLUME
TRANSPORT IN MILLIONS OF METRES
CUBED PER SECOND.
AND IT'S EQUIVALENT TO ABOUT
750,000 100-KILOMETRE SOLDIERS
MARCHING BY EVERY MINUTE.

Kent nods.

Stephanie Waterman says, SO THE SCALES OF THIS TRANSPORT,
UM, YOU KNOW, ARE, ARE MUCH LARGER THAN
THE THINGS WE INTERACT WITH, YOU KNOW, ON A
DAY-TO-DAY BASIS.

Steve says, WELL WE GOT A HINT OF IT
IN THAT FIRST NASA ANIMATION.
BUT THEN, SHELDON, IF YOU WOULD,
LET'S BRING UP THAT
SECOND SHOT AS WELL.
AND THIS IS A PICTURE OF THE OCEAN
CIRCULATION SYSTEM.
AND AGAIN, IT MAY GIVE SOME
INDICATION WHAT STEPHANIE WAS
JUST TALKING ABOUT.
THIS THING IS, I MEAN, IT'S
VAST.
STEPHANIE, DO YOU JUST WANT TO
TAKE US THROUGH THIS GRAPHIC
IMAGE BRIEFLY AND, AND SUGGEST,
WELL, IT IS MASSIVE.
I MEAN, IT GOES EVERYWHERE.
IT'S ALL OVER THE WORLD, ISN'T
IT?

A graphic of a map is displayed. Red arrows identify warm water and blue arrows identify cold water as they circulate around the world through different oceans. Text reads, thermohaline circulation.

Stephanie Waterman says, YES.
SO THIS PICTURE SHOWS YOU THE
GLOBAL SCALE OF THIS OVERTURNING
CIRCULATION.
AND, AND SOME PEOPLE CALL THIS, UH,
DEPICTION THE CONVEYOR BELT
DEPICTION OF THIS OVERTURNING.
AND SO THE RED COLOURS HERE IS
THE SURFACE FLOW THAT WE SEE ON
THE UPPER LIMB OF THIS, UH,
OVERTURNING CIRCULATION, AND WE
AND WE SEE, AS BRAD DESCRIBED, HOW, HOW THE
DEEP COLD WATERS, WHICH ARE IN
BLUE HERE, SPREAD DOWN FROM THE
NORTH ATLANTIC.
BUT THAT (indiscernible)
SPREAD EVERYWHERE
UH, AROUND THE GLOBAL OCEAN BEFORE
RISING UP AND BECOMING THE UPPER
LEVEL OR THE, THE ORANGE UH, PART OF THIS
CONVEYOR BELT.
AND SO, THIS, THIS PICTURE IS A REALLY GOOD
PICTURE OF HOW THE SCALE OF THIS
CURRENT IS GLOBAL.

Steve says, GOTCHA.
OKAY.
BRAD, LET’S GO BACK…

Kent speaks over Steve.

He says, AND I MIGHT ADD,
THAT, THAT, THAT THE TIME SCALE.
IF YOU THINK ABOUT THE TIME
SCALE OF THAT CIRCULATION…

Stephanie and Brad nod.

Kent Moore says, …IT'S
UPWARDS TO A THOUSAND YEARS.
SO IT'S A REALLY LARGE, REALLY
SLOW-MOVING CURRENT, BUT IT
COULD TAKE A THOUSAND YEARS FOR
WATER TO COMPLETE THAT CYCLE.

Steve says, TAKE A THOUSAND
YEARS FOR, FOR WATER TO MAKE ONE
CYCLE THE LIKES OF WHICH WE JUST
SAW ON THAT MAP?

Steve looks surprised. Kent nods.

Kent Moore says, YES.

Steve says, OKAY, WELL, IN WHICH CASE,
OKAY, CAN YOU TAKE US BACK THEN TO THE
PREVIOUS ICE AGE AND WHAT WE
LEARNED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO
THE GULF STREAM AT THAT TIME?

Kent Moore says, OKAY.
SO, UH, ABOUT 12,000 YEARS AGO, UH, WHEN
THE EARTH WAS WARMING UP FROM
THE LAST ICE AGE, UH, THE LAURENTIDE ICE SHEET
WHICH COVERED MOST OF CANADA WAS
MELTING AND IT WAS SENDING HUGE
AMOUNTS OF FRESHWATER INTO THE
NORTH ATLANTIC.
AND SO THERE WAS A PERIOD OF TIME
UH, WHICH A PALEOCLIMATE, PALEOCLIMATOLOGIST
CALLED THE YOUNGER DRYAS EVENT.

Text reads, the prehistoric record.

Kent Moore says, DRYAS IS AN ALPINE FLOWER THAT
USUALLY GROWS IN VERY COLD
REGIONS AND THEY FOUND POLLEN OF
THIS FLOWER IN REGIONS WHERE IT
SHOULDN'T BE.
AND SO THAT WAS THE FIRST EVIDENCE
THAT THERE WAS THIS COOLING.
IT LASTED ABOUT A THOUSAND
YEARS.
SO ABOUT A THOUSAND YEARS,
EUROPE SUDDENLY WENT INTO A DEEP
FREEZE.
UH, TEMPERATURES IN EUROPE PROBABLY
DROPPED BY ABOUT 10° CELSIUS.
PROBABLY IN A, IN A LIFETIME, YOU
KNOW.
SO THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WOULD
HAVE HAPPENED SORT OF IN
SOMEONE'S LIFETIME.
AND SO EUROPE GOT REALLY, REALLY
COLD.
UH, AND THEN EVENTUALLY OVER TIME
THAT FRESHWATER WAS MIXED AWAY,
AND THE GULF STREAM WAS ABLE TO
UH, RESUME.
SO WHAT'S IMPORTANT ABOUT THE
FRESHWATER IS THAT TO GET THAT
SINKING HAPPENING, AS YOU SAW IN
THAT VIDEO, YOU NEED TO HAVE THE
WATER REALLY DENSE.
AND IF THE WATER HAS, UH, IS VERY, VERY
FRESH, THAT MEANS THAT IT'S MUCH
HARDER FOR IT TO SINK, AND IF
IT'S HARDER FOR IT TO SINK, THEN
YOU CAN'T TRANSPORT AS MUCH HEAT
NORTHWARDS.
SO DURING THE LAST UH, AFTER THE LAST ICE AGE WHEN
THE EARTH WAS WARMING UP, EUROPE
WENT INTO A DEEP FREEZE FOR
ABOUT A HUNDRED, ABOUT A THOUSAND YEARS OR SO.

Text reads, Kent Moore, University of Toronto.

Kent Moore says, AND THAT'S, IF YOU LIKE, THE
KIND OF MOST DRAMATIC UH, EXAMPLE OF
WHAT WE MIGHT SEE HAPPENING IF
THE GULF STREAM WEAKENS.

Steve says, WELL, THAT WAS WHERE
I WAS GOING TO PICK UP THE
STORY.
BRAD, WHAT, WHAT WOULD, WHAT'S THE SIGNIFICANCE OF
THAT REVELATION IN TERMS OF
PRACTICAL APPLICATION TODAY?

Brad DeYoung says, WELL, THE, THE KEY
ISSUE IS THAT, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU
THINK BACK TO THOSE IMAGES WHERE
YOU SAW HEAT BEING RELEASED IN UH,
IN THE LABRADOR SEA OR IN THE
GREENLAND SEA, WARMING THE
ATMOSPHERE THERE, THAT THAT
WOULD STOP HAPPENING…

Text reads, Brad DeYoung, Memorial University.

Brad DeYoung says, …AND SO THE WEATHER PATTERNS IN THE,
IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE WOULD BE
ENORMOUSLY DISRUPTED.
FOR THE MOMENT WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT HOW AWFUL IT WOULD BE IF
IT WAS A TOTAL COLLAPSE.
I DON'T THINK, EVEN THOUGH
THAT'S UH, IN THE DISCUSSION AT THE
MOMENT, THAT THAT'S THE MOST
LIKELY THING TO HAPPEN IN THE
CENTURY WE'RE IN, BUT IT'S NOT
UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE EITHER.
AND SO, BASICALLY THE WEATHER IN
THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE WOULD BE
NOTHING LIKE WE PRESENTLY SEE.
IT WOULD BE A, A MUCH COLDER,
LIKELY DRIER SYSTEM.
UH, STORM PATTERNS WOULD CHANGE
HUGELY.
UH, ICE CONDITIONS IN THE NORTHERN
ATLANTIC WOULD ALL LOOK VERY
DIFFERENT.

Text reads, a slowdown.

Brad DeYoung says, AND SO NOT JUST THE ATLANTIC
BECAUSE THIS INFLUENCES THE
WHOLE PLANET, BUT, SO THE WHOLE
WEATHER SYSTEM OF THE NORTHERN
HEMISPHERE WOULD BE UH,
SIGNIFICANTLY DISRUPTED.
UM, BUT FOR THE MOMENT, I DON'T
THINK THAT'S THE MOST LIKELY
OUTCOME.
THIS IDEA PARTLY HAS BEEN IN THE
SCIENTIFIC DISCUSSION AS A
SERIOUS CONSIDERATION FOR
SEVERAL DECADES, AND SO THERE
HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN SCIENCE
PROGRAMS GOING OUT TO TRY TO
MEASURE WHAT'S GOING ON, BECAUSE
THERE WAS CONCERN PARTLY FROM
PEOPLE EXPERIMENTING WITH
NUMERICAL MODELS WHERE THEY KIND
OF DROPPED UH, SOME FRESHWATER AT
THE SURFACE AND SAID WHAT'S
GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE
CIRCULATION?
AND WHAT THEY DISCOVERED WAS
EVEN SMALL AMOUNTS OF FRESHWATER
COULD LEAD TO SIGNIFICANT
CHANGES.
WHAT KENT DESCRIBED IN UH, YOUNGER
DRYAS, THIS UH, EVENT OF A LONG TIME
AGO, WAS AN ENORMOUS INFLOW OF
FRESHWATER WE THINK THAT CAUSED
THIS SHUTDOWN.
BUT UH, MODELS HAVE SHOWED THAT EVEN A
SMALLISH AMOUNT OF FRESHWATER
COULD HAVE A REALLY BIG
INFLUENCE.

Steve says, LET US READ THE
FOLLOWING EXCERPT.
THIS IS FROM A STUDY THIS PAST
AUGUST BY NIKLAS BOERS FROM THE
POTSDAM INSTITUTE FOR CLIMATE
IMPACT RESEARCH WHO WARNS OF, QUOTE,
"EARLY WARNING SIGNS FOR A
POTENTIAL COLLAPSE" WE'RE
ASKING THE QUESTION, COULD THE
GULF STREAM COULD COLLAPSE OR A
SHUTDOWN OF THE AMOC, WHICH WE
TALKED ABOUT EARLIER.
AND HERE’S WHAT NIKLAS BOERS
WRITES, HE SAYS:
“THE SIGNS OF DESTABILISATION BEING
VISIBLE ALREADY IS SOMETHING THAT
I WOULD NOT HAVE EXPECTED AND
THAT I FIND SCARY. …IT’S ONE OF
THOSE EVENTS THAT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN,
AND WE SHOULD TRY ALL THAT WE CAN
TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. …THIS IS A
SYSTEM WE DON’T WANT TO MESS WITH.”

Text reads, Nicklas Boers, as quoted in the Washington Post (Aug. 5, 2021)

Steve says, ALL RIGHT.
LET'S FOLLOW UP FROM THAT.
STEPHANIE, UM, MAYBE START WITH
THIS.
WHEN WE TALK ABOUT, COULD THE
GULF STREAM COLLAPSE, PHYSICALLY
SPEAKING, ACTUALLY SPEAKING,
WHEN WE USE THE WORD "COLLAPSE,"
THAT WOULD REFER TO WHAT?

Stephanie Waterman says, WELL, UM,
AS BRAD SAID, THERE'S DIFFERENT
SCENARIOS THAT COULD HAP, HAPPEN.
"COLLAPSE" I THINK SUGGESTS THAT
THE GULF STREAM IS NO LONGER, UH,
TRANSPORTING THAT WATER AND THAT
HEAT FROM THE EQUATOR TO THE
POLE IN THE WAY IT DOES TODAY.

Text reads, Stephanie Waterman, University of British Columbia.

Stephanie Waterman says, I THINK THERE'S A SPECTRUM OF
THINGS THAT COULD HAPPEN.
THAT, THAT TRANSPORT COULD SLOW DOWN A
LOT, UM, OR, OR IT COULD CEASE COLLAPSE,
SUGGESTS UH, UH, CEASE.
AND SO, SO IF THAT HEAT TRANSPORT SHUT
DOWN, THERE WOULD BE KNOCK-ON
EFFECTS IN THE OCEAN CIRCULATION
AND ALSO THE ATMOSPHERIC
CIRCULATION, UM, YEAH, THAT, THAT ARE COMPLEX AND
INTERCONNECTED.

Steve says, AND KENT, HOW CONCERNED
DO YOU THINK WE SHOULD BE ABOUT
A POTENTIAL SLOWDOWN OR EVEN
SHUTDOWN OF THE GULF STREAM
TODAY?

Kent Moore says, WELL, WELL AS BRAD
MENTIONED, UH, WE'VE BEEN MEASURING
THE TRANSPORT SINCE ABOUT 2004,
AND OVER THAT PERIOD OF TIME, WE
HAVE MEASUREMENTS THAT SHOW THAT
THE TRANSPORT HAS DECREASED BY
ABOUT 10%.

Text reads, Kent Moore, University of Toronto. Kent shrugs.

Kent Moore says, SO THAT'S A PRETTY SIGNIFICANT
DECREASE.
OF COURSE, WE’VE ONLY A
16-YEAR RECORD AND A CYCLE WHICH
HAS A TIME SCALE OF HUNDREDS OF
THOUSANDS OF YEARS.
IT'S REALLY HARD TO, TO INFER MUCH
FROM THAT.
BUT I THINK WE, YOU KNOW,
IT’S, IT'S ONE OF THESE EVENTS WE
SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT A
POTENTIAL SLOWDOWN BECAUSE THAT
AGAIN WOULD HAVE KNOCK-ON
EFFECTS, NOT AS DRAMATIC, OF
COURSE, AS IF YOU COLLAPSED IT,
BUT I THINK IT'S IN THE REALM OF
POSSIBILITY IN THE NEXT CENTURY
THAT WE'LL SEE THIS SLOWDOWN
CONTINUING AND, YOU KNOW, WE'LL SEE
INCREMENTAL COOLING IN, LET'S
SAY, NORTHERN EUROPE, UH, EVEN
THOUGH THE EARTH IS WARMING UP,
AND AGAIN CHANGES TO OCEAN
CIRC, CIRCULATION ACROSS THE WHOLE
GLOBE.
SO I THINK WE SHOULD BE WORRIED
ABOUT IT.
UH, THE COLLAPSE I DON'T THINK WILL, WILL
HAPPEN IN, IN ANYONE'S LIFETIME.
BUT I THINK WE SHOULD BE
CONCERNED ABOUT A, A SLOWDOWN.

Steve says, AND, AND JUST TO A FOLLOW-UP
ON THIS, UH, KENT.
IF THE WORLD IS GETTING WARMER
AND WE DON'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN
BECAUSE CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT A
GOOD THING FOR UH, FOR THIS WORLD AND
WE'D LIKE THE TEMPERATURE RISES
NOT TO TAKE PLACE, BUT THIS HAS
AN INFLUENCE OF MAKING THE WORLD
COOLER.

Steve looks confused.

He asks, CAN YOU HELP ME WITH THIS?
DO THESE THINGS CANCEL EACH
OTHER OUT?

Kent laughs.

Kent Moore says, WELL, THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION
AND I THINK PEOPLE OFTEN THINK
OF THE CLIMATE SYSTEM AS BEING A
LINEAR SYSTEM, THAT IS, THE
EARTH WARMS UP, THE EARTH COOLS
DOWN.
BUT OF COURSE IT DOESN'T.
THERE’S PARTS THAT COOL
MORE, UM, SORRY, THAT WARM MORE
RAPIDLY, FOR INSTANCE THE ARCTIC
IS WARMING MUCH MORE RAPIDLY
THAN THE REST OF THE EARTH.
AND, AND, AND SO UH, IT'S A NON-LINEAR SYSTEM.
AND SO WE COULD BE IN A SITUATION,
AS WE WERE IN THE YOUNGER DRYAS
EVENT, WHERE A PERIOD, THE EARTH
WAS WARMING UP AFTER THE LAST
ICE AGE, EUROPE WENT INTO A DEEP
FREEZE.

Text reads, Kent Moore, University of Toronto.

Kent Moore says, SO IT'S POSSIBLE TO HAVE THESE
TRANSIENT SORT OF EVENTS HAPPEN.

Text reads, catastrophic consequences.

Kent Moore says, EVENTUALLY, YOU KNOW, IT WILL WORK ITS WAY
OUT.
BUT, BUT IT COULD BE THE CASE.
AND SO UH, THE CLIMATE SYSTEM IS
NON-LINEAR AND THERE'S A CONCERN
THAT WE MAY BE REACHING WHAT'S
CALLED A TIPPING POINT WHERE
THERE'S SORT OF TWO STATES, AND
THAT'S WHAT NIKLAS SHOWED IN HIS
PAPER.
HE SAID THE GULF STREAM EXISTS
IN EITHER A VERY KIND OF RAPID, UH,
STATE, WHICH WE'RE IN NOW, AND
THEN A VERY LESS RAPID STATE.
AND SO WHAT, WHAT NIKLAS WAS TALKING ABOUT
IS THIS UH, TRANSITION OR TIPPING
POINT WHERE YOU SUDDENLY
TRANSITION FROM ONE STATE, WHERE
THE GULF STREAM IS VERY ACTIVE,
INTO ANOTHER STATE, WHERE THE
GULF STREAM ISN'T AS ACTIVE.

Steve says, HMM.
BRAD, ANY THOUGHT
ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO
CANADA UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES?

Brad DeYoung says, WELL, I MEAN, UH,
LET ME FIRST GO BACK TO YOUR
EARLIER QUESTION ABOUT, IS THIS
A GOOD IDEA?

Text reads, Brad DeYoung, Memorial University.

Brad DeYoung says, BECAUSE, I'LL JUST GIVE YOU A KIND OF A
COUNTER-EXAMPLE TO THAT IN SOME
SENSE, AND THAT IS ABOUT A
HUNDRED YEARS AGO THERE WAS A
PROPOSAL THAT A, A BARRIER, A DIKE
BE PLACED ACROSS THE GRAND BANKS
OF NEWFOUNDLAND TO STOP THE FLOW
OF THIS COLD WATER THAT WE JUST
SHOWED MOVING SOUTHWARD AND THE
IDEA WAS THIS WOULD WARM, UH,
THE NEW ENGLAND STATES, THAT UH, THE
UNITED STATES WOULD HAVE A MUCH
BALMIER CLIMATE AND UH, ALL WOULD BE
GOOD.
AND UH, THIS WAS ACTUALLY A SERIOUS
SUGGESTION MADE UH, BY ONE OF THE
LEAD ENGINEERS FOR THE PANAMA
CANAL, AND IT'S UNDER THAT
CATEGORY OF, YOU KNOW, WE’RE, WE NOW
CAN CONTROL THE EARTH.
AND I THINK THE IDEA THAT WE GET
TO CONTROL OR TO, YOU KNOW, CONTROL THE
TEMPERATURE OF THE EARTH THE WAY
YOU DO YOUR HOUSE WITH A
THERMOSTAT IS…

Brad laughs.

Brad DeYoung says, …IS, IS, IS NOT
A VERY GOOD SUGGESTION BECAUSE
THERE ARE LOTS OF UNINTENDED UH,
RESULTS OF THAT.
AND SO WHILE THIS UH, MIGHT APPEAR
TO COOL APPROPRIATELY PORTIONS
OF THE PLANET, IT ALSO UTTERLY
DISRUPTS THE WHOLE KIND OF
CLIMATE SYSTEM, WEATHER SYSTEM
WITHIN WHICH WE OPERATE, AND
THERE WOULD BE VERY UNHAPPY
CONSEQUENCES FOR LOTS OF PEOPLE.
SO TO YOUR SECOND QUESTION
AROUND HOW IT WOULD INFLUENCE
CANADA, I MEAN, IT WOULD
DRAMATICALLY OBVIOUSLY MOST
INFLUENCE ATLANTIC CANADA, SINCE
WE'RE, YOU KNOW, BORDERING UH, THE
ATLANTIC OCEAN AND WE'RE CLEARLY
SEEING A MAJOR DISRUPTION OF THE, THE
TEMPERATURE AND THE CONDITIONS
WE WHICH, WHICH WE WOULD SEE THERE, WHICH
WOULD ALSO DISRUPT FISH STOCKS
AND SHIPPING AND ALL SORTS OF
OTHER THINGS.
BUT FOR CANADA AS A WHOLE, IT
WOULD SHIFT, UH, THE POTENTIAL FOR
AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITY ACROSS THE
COUNTRY, CHANGE PRECIPITATION
PATTERNS HUGELY, AND SO IT WOULD
NOT JUST BE A LITTLE
DISRUPTION, SO WHAT WE'VE SEEN
SO FAR IN THE CHANGES IN WEATHER
I WOULD CATEGORIZE RELATIVE TO
WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT NOW AS
A SMALL DISRUPTION.
THIS WOULD BE A MAJOR DISRUPTION
OF WEATHER.
WEATHER WOULD LOOK NOTHING LIKE
IT'S LOOKED IN THE LAST HUNDRED
YEARS.

Steve says, STEPHANIE, LET ME
PUT THIS QUOTE TO YOU AND,
AGAIN, I MAY NEED SOME HELP WITH THE
PRONUNCIATION HERE,
SCIENTIST BY THE NAME OF, IT'S
EITHER WALLACE BROECKER OR
BRECKER?
I’M NOT SURE.

Stephanie Waterman says, BROECKER, YEAH.

Steve says, OKAY.
HE DEVELOPED THE
IDEA APPARENTLY, OF A GLOBAL CONVEYOR BELT
LINKING THE CIRCULATION OF THE
GLOBAL OCEAN, AND HIS QUOTE IS:
"THE CLIMATE SYSTEM IS AN ANGRY
BEAST AND WE ARE POKING IT WITH
STICKS."

Stephanie grins.

Steve asks, HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT AS AN
ANALOGY FOR WHAT'S GOING ON
RIGHT NOW?

Stephanie scratches her head

She says, YEAH, I DON’T KNOW,
I WOULDN'T SAY ANGRY.
UH, COMPLICATED, COMPLEX, VAST?
UM, INTERCONNECTED IN WAYS THAT,
SOME WAYS WE UNDERSTAND AND
OTHER WAYS WE DON'T UNDERSTAND.

Text reads, Stephanie Waterman, University of British Columbia.

Stephanie Waterman says, POKING IT WITH A STICK I THINK
IS MAYBE, APPROPRIATE IN THAT I
DON'T THINK WE HAVE A FULL
UNDERSTANDING OF UH, HOW(indiscernible),
SO ONE PART OF THE CLIMATE
SYSTEM WILL IM, IMPACT ALL THESE
OTHER INTERCONNECTED SYSTEMS IN
THE OCEANS AND IN THE
ATMOSPHERE, IN THE BIOSPHERE.

Text reads, Stephanie Waterman, @watersteph.

Stephanie Waterman says, AND SO, UM, SO I THINK THAT THE POKING WITH
THE STICK IS SORT OF A, A REFERENCE
TO WE ARE, WE ARE ALL ALTERATING THE SYSTEM
UH, OR, AND SUGGESTING ALTERATIONS
PERHAPS THROUGH GEOENGINEERING,
UM, BUT WE DON'T, UH, THEY'RE VERY
CRUDE THESE TOOLS, AND WE DON’T, AND THE BEAST
PART, WE DON'T UNDERSTAND THE
COMPLEXITY OF THE RESPONSE OF
THAT.
"ANGRY" IS A BIT EMOTIVE BUT
COMPLEX, YES.

Steve says, A LITTLE TOO MUCH
ANTHROPOMORPHIZING THERE MAYBE
ON, ON HIS PART?
BUT, BUT PUT IT THIS WAY: HE, THE, THE
SUGGESTION CERTAINLY SEEMS TO BE
THAT WE, WE ARE POKING WITH A GIANT
STICK AND WE’RE DOING SO NOT
HAVING A, A GOOD ENOUGH
UNDERSTANDING OF THE OUTCOMES
THAT WE MAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR.
I MEAM IS THAT A FAIR OBSERVATION,
STEPHANIE?

Stephanie nods

She says, YEAH, I, I
WOULD AGREE WITH THAT
WHOLE, WHOLEHEARTEDLY.
WE, WE APPRECIATE THE COMPLEXITY BUT
WE DON'T UH, UNDERSTAND ALL THE
INTERCONNECTIONS AND THE
COMPLEXITIES.
SO UNDERSTANDING THE, THE, KNOCK-ON
EFFECTS UH, OF, OF ACTIONS.
I THINK UM, MOST CLIMATE
SCIENTISTS WOULD, WOULD, WOULD FEEL THAT WE
DON'T HAVE A GOOD UNDERSTANDING
OF ALL THOSE KNOCK-ON EFFECTS.

Text reads, Stephanie Waterman, University of British Columbia.

Steve says, OKAY.
KENT, UM, LET ME TRY THIS.
EVERYBODY SEEMS TO THINK OF
CLIMATE CHANGE AS A VERY GRADUAL
THING THAT WILL TAKE PLACE, YOU
KNOW, 2 DEGREES OVER A SEVERAL
DECADE PERIOD OF TIME, BUT THEN,
YOU REFERRED TO A TIPPING POINT
EARLIER.
AND I WONDER WHETHER THIS, THIS EFFECT
THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT ALL OF
A SUDDEN, YOU KNOW, IT'S LIKE
THE HOUSE OF CARDS FALLING DOWN.
YOU CAN DO A LITTLE BIT AND
NOTHING MUCH HAPPENS AND THEN
BOOM.
IS THAT A POTENTIAL HERE?

Text reads, climate tipping points.

Kent Moore says, I THINK THAT'S
THE UH, CONCERN, UH, YOU KNOW, I THINK
IT'S SAFE TO CHARACTERIZE GLOBAL
WARMING AS MOSTLY LINEAR.

Text reads, Kent Moore, University of Toronto.

Kent Moore says, I MEAN, WE'RE JUST WARMING THE
PLANET UP.
BUT THEN WE CAN HAVE THESE UH,
KNOCK-ON EFFECTS WHERE SUDDENLY
THERE’S A BIG TRANSITION.
AND THE ONE I LIKE TO THINK OF IS
JUST FREEZING.
LIKE IN TORONTO IN THE WINTER,
OUR TEMPERATURE’S AROUND ZERO.
RIGHT?
WHEN IT'S -2, EVERYTHING IS
FROZEN.
WHEN IT'S +2, EVERYTHING GETS
SLUSHY AND YOU GET SPLASHED BY
CARS AS YOU WALK DOWN THE
STREET.
SO THERE'S AN EXAMPLE OF A
TIPPING POINT WHERE WATER MELTS
AT ZERO DEGREES.
AND SO IF YOU GO THROUGH THAT
POINT, YOU SUDDENLY HAVE A VERY
DIFFERENT CLIMATE SYSTEM.
AND THAT’S A, I THINK A SORT OF
METAPHOR MAYBE FOR, FOR WHAT A TIPPING
POINT IS.
WHEN THESE SUDDEN
CHANGE’S THAT HAPPENS BECAUSE THE
SYSTEM IS HIGHLY NON-LINEAR,
THAT MEANS THAT THE RESPONSES
MAY NOT BE THE SAME AS THE
INPUTS.
AND I THINK THAT'S REALLY THE UH,
CONCERN.
THE GULF STREAM IS PROBABLY THE
POSTER CHILD, IF YOU LIKE, FOR
THESE TIPPING POINTS.

Stephanie nods.

Kent Moore says, BUT THERE'S OTHER ONES, LOSING
ARCTIC SEA ICE IS ANOTHER ONE
THAT WOULD HAVE A DRAMATIC
TRAN, TRANSITION.
YOU KNOW, LOSING UH, YOU KNOW, LAND GLACIERS.
THERE AGAIN, THESE ARE REALLY
DRAMATIC CHANGES.
SO THE GULF STREAM IS PROBABLY
THE MOST DRAMATIC OF THESE, BUT
THE CLIMATE SYSTEM IS FULL OF
THESE NON-LINEARITIES THAT
COULD, IF YOU LIKE, UH, BITE US IF
WE POKE TOOK HARD.

Steve says, BRAD, IF THE GULF
STREAM SYSTEM WERE TO WEAKEN OR,
GOD FORBID, EVEN SHUT DOWN, IS
THERE ANYTHING AT THAT POINT
THAT COULD BE DONE ABOUT IT?

Brad DeYoung says, WELL, THAT
TAKES US INTO THIS KIND OF
CATEGORY OF TRYING TO, INSTEAD
OF POKING AT THE, THE BEAR OR THE
ANGRY ANIMAL, TO THROW A NET
OVER IT OR SOMETHING TO TRY TO
CONTAIN IT.

Text reads, Brad DeYoung, Memorial University.

Brad DeYoung says, AND, YOU KNOW, IF YOU GO BACK TO OUR
DESCRIPTION OF HOW ENORMOUS THE
GULF STREAM IS, THAT'S A PRETTY
BIG ANIMAL TO THROW A NET OVER.
AND SO THE SUGGESTIONS FOR UH,
GEOENGINEERING THE UH, YOU KNOW,
RESPONSES TO
THESE UH, PROBLEMS HAVE SO FAR NOT
LOOKED MORE APPEALING THAN THE
PROBLEMS THEMSELVES.
AND SO, I THINK THE, THE SHORT
RESPONSE IS: NO, NOT LIKELY.
AND IT'S REALLY WHY I THINK IN, IN
THIS BROADER DISCUSSION ABOUT
CLIMATE CHANGE AND, YOU KNOW PUTTING CO2
INTO THE ATMOSPHERE, THERE'S A
LOT OF FOCUS ON TRYING TO STOP
US REACHING A PARTICULAR
TEMPERATURE CHANGE, YOU KNOW,
1.5, WHATEVER, 2°.

Stephanie nods.

Brad DeYoung says, WE DON'T WANT TO GET TO THAT
POINT.
BUT WHAT THIS DISCUSSION SHOWS
IS THERE ISN'T AN ABSOLUTE POINT
WHERE WE NEED TO WORRY ABOUT
THINGS LIKE THIS.
THESE THINGS COULD HAPPEN, THIS
KIND OF TIPPING POINT, SOMEWHERE
ALONG THE LINE FROM WHERE WE ARE
NOW TO THOSE 1-1/2 OR 2°
TEMPERATURE CHANGES.
SO, ANYTHING WE DO THAT SLOWS
DOWN OR STOPS US FROM REACHING
THOSE POINTS IS A GOOD THING.
EVEN IF WE ONLY GET TO 1.4 OR
1.6 BECAUSE JUST THINKING OF
KENT'S ANALOGY, YOU KNOW, IF THE
TIPPING POINT IS AT 1.9, THEN WE SURE,
FOR SURE DON'T WANT TO REACH
THAT POINT.
THE PROBLEM IS WE DON'T KNOW
WHERE THESE TIPPING POINTS ARE
IN THE SYSTEM.
THEY ARE, WE KNOW THEY'RE THERE.
WE KNOW THAT WE'RE CLOSE TO THEM
BECAUSE THE WHOLE SYSTEM IS
BASICALLY, UH, YOU KNOW, HASN'T
REALLY CHANGED SUBSTANTIALLY.
AND SO THE TIPPING POINTS AREN'T
FAR AWAY.
THAT WE'RE CERTAIN OF.
AND SO THE QUESTION WE DON'T
KNOW THE ANSWER TO IS: HOW FAR
AWAY ARE THEY?
AND AT WHAT POINT, WHEN WE POKE
AT THIS BEAR, OR WHATEVER
ANIMAL, IS IT A BEAR?
SOMETHING ELSE?

Steve smiles and Brad laughs.

Brad DeYoung says, AT WHAT POINT DOES IT GET REALLY
UPSET AND TIP OVER AND THE LESS
WE POKE, THE LESS CO2 WE PUT
INTO THE ATMOSPHERE, THE BETTER.

Steve says, AND STEPHANIE, JUST
FINALLY, IS THERE A PREFERRED
GEOENGINEERING SOLUTION HERE
THAT SCIENTISTS ARE SOMEWHAT IN
AGREEMENT ON?

Stephanie Waterman says, YEAH,
WELL, I, I LIKED UH, WHEN BRAD SAID THAT
THOSE SOLUTIONS DON'T LOOK MORE
ATTRACTIVE THAN THE PROBLEMS
WE'RE FACING RIGHT NOW.
I THINK THERE ARE SOME IDEAS OUT
THERE, BUT I DON'T THINK THAT UM,
ANY OF THEM HAVE BEEN DEEMED
FEASIBLE OR HAVE BEEN TESTED…

Text reads, Stephanie Waterman, @watersteph.

Stephanie Waterman says, … UM AND AGAIN, THE KNOCK-OFF EFFECTS
OF, OF, OF PERTURBING THIS SYSTEM I
THINK CAUSE, UM, SCIENTISTS A LOT OF
CONCERN.
AND SO, I, I, AGAIN, I, I WOULDN'T SAY THAT
THERE'S A GEOENGINEERING
SOLUTION OUT THERE THAT I FEEL
CONFIDENT IN AT ALL.

Steve says, KENT, HOW ABOUT YOU?
LAST WORD TO YOU ON THIS ISSUE.
I GUESS WE'VE ALL AGREED IT'S A
BEAR.
WE'VE ALL AGREED WE SHOULDN'T
POKE THE BEAR.

(Laughing)

Steve says, BUT IS THERE A GEOENGINEERING
SOLUTION OUT THERE
NOTWITHSTANDING?

Kent Moore says, I DON'T THINK SO.
AND A, I MEAN STEPHANIE MENTIONED, EVERY,
EVERY ONE OF THEM HAVE SOME PROBLEM.
THE SCALE IS ENORMOUS.
I MEAN JUST THINK OF HOW MUCH ENERGY IS
IN THE GULF STREAM, RIGHT?
IT'S, IT’S JUST ENORMOUS.
THE OTHER CONCERN I HAVE IS THAT
IT DIVERTS US FROM THE REAL
PRESSING ISSUE, WHICH IS GETTING
OUR CARBON EMISSIONS UNDER,
UNDER CONTROL.
RIGHT?
IF THERE'S THIS MAGIC BULLET
THAT WE CAN SUDDENLY PUT A BIG
SAIL UP IN SPACE AND REFLECT
SUNLIGHT, YOU KNOW, BACK OUT IN SPACE, IT
DETRACTS US FROM THE REAL PROBLEM,
WHICH IS WE NEED TO GET OUR
CARBON EMISSIONS UNDER CONTROL.
AND THAT'S REALLY THE ONLY WAY
THAT WE CAN CONTAIN THE COOL, THE WARMING AND
MAKE SURE WE DON'T REACH
THESE TIPPING POINTS.
SO, NO, I'M NOT IN FAVOUR OF ANY
OF THESE GEOENGINEERING
SOLUTIONS.
THEY’RE ALL, UH, HAVE UNANTICIPATED
CONSEQUENCES.
THERE'S RECORD, THERE’S A HUGE RECORD OF US
TRYING TO DO THINGS AND SCREWING
IT UP, RIGHT?

Stephanie nods.

Kent Moore says, I MEAN, THAT'S WHAT WE DO AS HUMANS.
UH, YOU KNOW, AND I THINK THIS IS ANOTHER
EXAMPLE OF A WAY THAT WE WOULD
PROBABLY MESS THINGS UP EVEN
WORSE THAN, THAN WHAT WE WERE TRYING
TO, TO SOLVE FOR.
SO, NO, I DON'T THINK IT'S A
FEASIBLE SOLUTION.

Steve says, SO NOTE TO SELF: DON'T
POKE THE BEAR.
WE GOT IT.

(Laughing)

Steve says, I WANT TO THANK THE THREE OF YOU
FOR JOINING US FROM NEAR AND FAR
TONIGHT FOR A REALLY FASCINATING
DISCUSSION.
UH, STEPHANIE WATERMAN IN VANCOUVER,
BRITISH COLUMBIA; BRAD DEYOUNG
IN VICTORIA, B.C.; KENT MOORE
FROM UTM IN MIDTOWN, TORONTO.

Text reads, produced by Eric Bombicino, @ebombicino.

Steve says, STEPHANIE, I'M SURE IT'S BEEN
OBSERVED BY MANY IN THE PAST.
YOU DO HAVE THE PERFECT LAST
NAME FOR THE KIND OF WORK THAT
YOU ENDED UP IN, RIGHT?

Stephanie laughs.

She says, IT'S TRUE.

Steve says, I MEAN COME ON.
FOR AN EARTH, OCEAN,
AND ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES PERSON
TO HAVE A LAST NAME WATERMAN, I
MEAN, C'MON, GIVE ME A BREAK.
WELL, THERE WE GO.
THANKS, YOU THREE.
BE WELL.

Kent Moore says, THANK YOU.

Brad DeYoung says, OKAY, THANK YOU, STEVE.

Stephanie Waterman says, THANK YOU.

Watch: Could the Gulf Stream Collapse?