Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS & UPPSC Mains Exam: Paper - II (General Studies – I) - 26 September 2019

Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam

Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS & UPPSC Mains Exam

UPSC Syllabus:

  • Paper-II: General Studies - I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)

Q. Define Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). Discuss how is Indian Ocean helping Atlantic Ocean's currents. (250 words)

Model Answer:

  • Why in News?
  • Introduction
  • Reasons for weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
  • Role of Indian Ocean towards Atlantic Ocean’s Currents
  • Conclusion

Why in News?

A study published in Nature Climate Change journal, claims that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation is slowing down.


The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) which is sometimes referred to as “Atlantic conveyor belt” — is one of the Earth’s largest water circulation systems where ocean currents move warm, salty water from tropics to regions further north, such as Western Europe and sends colder water south. AMOC ensures that the oceans are continually mixed, and heat and energy are distributed around Earth.

Slowdown of AMOC would have dramatic climatic consequences on Europe and other parts of the Atlantic rim.


Reasons for weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation:

AMOC has been stable for thousands of years. But for the last 15 years the AMOC has been weakening. The reasons for weakening of AMOC are:

  • Global Warming is the primary reason behind slowing down of the AMOC.
  • Sudden input of freshwater from melting glaciers can also cause a cap to the circulation of AMOC.
  • Natural Water Variability may also lead to slow down of AMOC for a short period of time.

Role of Indian Ocean towards Atlantic Ocean’s Currents:

  • The Indian Ocean warms faster so it generates additional precipitation, which, helps to draw more air from other parts of the world, including the Atlantic.
  • The higher level of precipitation in the Indian Ocean reduces precipitation in the Atlantic and increase salinity in the waters.
  • This saline water in the Atlantic via AMOC gets cold much quicker than usual and sinks faster, acting “as a jump start for AMOC, intensifying the circulation”.

However, scientists do not know for how long this enhanced warming in Indian Ocean will continue. Scientists argue that if other tropical oceans’ warming, especially the Pacific, catches up with the Indian Ocean, the advantage for AMOC will stop.

Slowdown of AMOC would cause harsh winters in Europe, with more storms or a drier Sahel in Africa due to the downward shift of the tropical rain belt.


Slowing down of AMOC would have adverse effect on climatic conditions. While modern technology can help cope with long-term climate fluctuations, the impacts on the economy and health will be inevitable. There is a need to work towards controlling global warming and climate change worldwide.

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