Transpolar currents disappear in the Arctic Ocean under a doubling of CO2

1. Professor Ola M. Johannessen is leading a research group from the Nansen Centers in Bergen and St. Petersburg and Institute of Mathematical Machines and System Problems in Kiev, Ukraine which over several years have studied how radio nuclides such as Strontium (90Sr) and Cesium (137C) have spread and will spread in the future from Sellafield, atmospheric fallout from nuclear test bombings in the past and from sources in Russian Arctic areas. We have in press a 500 page book from this work spanning over a 10 years period which will be published by "SPRINGER" in the fall 2009.

2. As part of this work, we have just published the work "Sources and pathways of 90Sr in the North Atlantic - Arctic region: present day and global warming" in the international referee journal “Journal of Environmental Radioactivity” published by Elsevier, by Gao, …Johannessen et al. 2009, attached.

3. In order to study how the spreading of 90Sr (Strontium) occurs in the ocean, which is totally directed by the current system since Strontium is a conservative tracer, we have used a realistic validated ocean model which is forced by meteorological variables such as wind, temperature etc.

4. We have studied the circulation in the North Atlantic - Nordic and the Arctic Ocean for present and future. The average current in the period 1970-2000 is shown in fig 12 a in the attached paper. This is well known: The Gulf stream comes in between the Faroe-Shetland - a part of it goes into the Barents Sea and another part past Svalbard and into the Arctic Ocean. In the Arctic Ocean you have the powerful Transpolar Current which goes from Russia right across the Polar Ocean and out as the Greenland Current (It was the Transpolar Current, Fram, the ship of Fridtjof Nansen, drifted in from 1893-96 across the Arctic Ocean). In Beaufort Sea outside Alaska and Canada you have the Beaufort circulation clockwise, see page 12 in attached paper - chapter 4 Ocean circulation.

5. Then we have studied how this current system is changing under a doubling of CO2 and we simulated the mean current for the period 2050-2080, fig. 12 b.
For this period we have used wind and other meteorological variables from our large scale (250km solution) global climate model (Bergen Climate Model) to run a more detailed (90km) ocean model – the same as in fig. 12 a. The global warming (2xCO2) had a dramatic effect on the current system. See fig 12 b.
5.1 The important Transpolar Current ceased.
5.2 The Beaufort circulation became much weaker.
5.3 The Greenland Current became much weaker.
5.4 Less inflow of the Gulf Stream between Faroe-Shetland.
5.5 The reason for this is primary that wind etc has changed under a 2xCO2 situation.

We are the first to publish such a result (See chapter 6, last section over fig. 9).

Conclusion: Fig 12 b shows the current system under a 2xCO2 situation. If we reach this level for emissions of CO2, we will have dramatic changes in the whole ocean circulation in the Northern Atlantic, the Nordic Sea and Arctic, with strong impact on society and economy.

The ice will also gradually disappear; we were the first who pointed this out already in a study from 2004, Johannessen et al. 2004 attached, see figs.8-9 (mentioned as Editors choice in Science). Ola M. Johannessen has also just published another work, attached, that shows a close connection between increasing CO2 and decreasing ice, fig. 1 and which shows that the ice disappears far more rapidly than the IPCC models predicts, fig. 2. Use of a statistic equation over the last 50 years (in the text under fig 1) shows potentially that all the ice, summer and winter will be gone if CO2 reaches the value 765ppmv, also a doubling from today´s level.

Both that the current system changes dramatically and that the ice also disappears under a doubling of CO2 show clearly the necessity that we have to reduce the CO2 emissions drastically and that a new effective agreement must be signed "in Copenhagen in December". If not, we must start to adapt to “another world” than the one we have today.

If you have any questions, contact Ola M. Johannessen tel: +47 55205800, Mobile: +47 90135336. E-mail: