Is it the day after tomorrow already?
Have you seen The Day After Tomorrow? Great film, if you ask me. Anyway, in that science fiction movie, the North Atlantic current is affected by the polar ice melting down, which triggers a major (and catastrophic) climate change.
It all happens unrealistically fast, because in a film it's much easier to implicate the audience by following closely some characters rather than by telling a story that runs over decades, and it triggers very spectacular events like tidal waves, giant supercells and superfast glaciations, because these days a movie has to show spectacular images. But except for these, the story was based on very serious climatic studies and talked about very real potential problems.
Well, here's the scary thing: according to this article on newscientist.com, it may have already begun:
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.
Scientists have been warning about the possible impacts of human activities on the global climate and their consequences for more than 25 years, now. But still, handled by the lobbies of fossil energy producers (mostly oil companies), the politics of the bigger greenhouse effect gazes emitting countries keep denying climate changes, refusing to take action (even manipulating science when possible) and the effects of this greed are becoming more and more visible every day.
Do you have kids? Do you have grand-kids? If so, the world they'll live in is the world we are making for them. Think about it. Would you like them to experience famine? Catastrophic weather events on a monthly basis? Or global outbreaks of diseases we now call "tropical", maybe? This is no sci-fi or doom-saying, we're getting right there, faster and faster every day. So if you care about your kids and your grand-kids, it's your responsibility to do something about it. You can support Greenpeace, you can mail your representatives, you can make your voice count in many ways. But you got to do something! Just take a moment to read and think about it, and you'll know it's true.
Update: Thanks to Nico for pointing out this transcript of a BBC program that covers this very subject quite thoroughly (very good reading!). Back in 2003, the interviewed scientists already found that the flow of the conveyor (as they call this current) had fallen by 20%. Apparently it's not getting any better!
Basically, the consensus in this program was that a total interruption of this current in the next few years (before global warming can slow down its effects) could put most of the Northern hemisphere into what would look awfully like a new ice age and trigger droughts in the rest of the world. And it would take less than a decade.