Originally published by Scimex

Media release

From: Australian Science Media Centre

BRIEFING ALERT: Is the Southern Ocean about to have its own ‘Day After Tomorrow’ moment? (Nature*)

NEWS BRIEFING: Tuesday 28 March at 10:00 AEDT ONLINE

The movie ‘The Day After Tomorrow’  tells the fictional story of catastrophic climatic effects following the collapse of the North Atlantic Ocean circulation, and now new Australian research suggests our own southern version of this deep ocean circulation may soon be about to collapse. 

The study, published in Nature, shows that under future climate scenarios, deep ocean warming around Antarctica is set to accelerate over the next 30 years. They found that increasing meltwater coming from Antarctica will drive a slowdown in the circulation of nearby deep ocean water, known as Antarctic Bottom Water, which they say is likely to weaken by 40% by 2050. 

The researchers say these changes would profoundly alter the ocean’s overturning of heat, freshwater, oxygen, carbon and nutrients, with impacts felt throughout the global ocean for centuries to come. 

The briefing will bring together the authors of this research to discuss the findings: 


  • Scientia Professor Matthew England, Deputy Director of the ARC Australian Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science (ACEAS) at UNSW

Also available for Q&A

  • Dr Adele Morrison, DECRA Research Fellow at The Australian National University
  • Dr Steve Rintoul, CSIRO Fellow and Research Team Leader
  • Professor Andy Hogg, Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes at The Australian National University
  • Dr Qian Li, Postdoctoral Associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

*Abyssal ocean overturning slowdown and warming driven by Antarctic meltwater, Li et al, Nature, doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-05762-w