Monitoring Atlantic currents to predict climate

RAPID programme monitoring
Atlantic Ocean currents, launching a submersible off a ship

NERC’s world leading discovery science answers fundamental questions and discovers new knowledge about how the world works – past, present and future.

The Rapid climate change programme (RAPID) has, for the last 10 years, been using ground-breaking equipment to monitor the circulation of Atlantic Ocean currents (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation - AMOC) to test their sensitivity to global warming. Monitoring changes to AMOC is important because of the role it plays in Earth’s climate system. It transports heat from the tropical Atlantic to higher latitudes and helps to give Western Europe its mild winter climate. Changes to, or collapse of, AMOC could lead to significant temperature changes across Europe. The programme is half-way through its monitoring period, but is already providing important advice to policy makers by reducing uncertainty in regional climate predictions.