View all stories

The Ocean's Conveyor Belt is in Danger

In today's issue of "This Week in Climate", we look at the possible AMOC collapse.
Abigail Bassett
Aug 14, 2023 10 min read
Share this post

There’s no question that the world's oceans are warming. With everything from news reports about the hot tub temperatures stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Persian Gulf and swollen glacial rivers in Alaska destroying homes, to data indicating a potential slowdown or collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, our oceans are slowly starting to boil.

While scientists have warned about the ocean’s warming for years, new data indicates that the AMOC might collapse sooner than anyone had anticipated, which could significantly impact global climate change. While there’s a lot of debate about the latest data, one thing is clear: Climate change is happening faster than we thought, and the AMOC is slowing down.

What is the AMOC?

AMOC stands for Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. This term is frequently interchanged with a more friendly term and known as the Atlantic’s “Conveyor Belt.” The deep water current moves cooler water from the poles toward the equator and back with regularity.

The AMOC is the size of 8000 Mississippi Rivers and moves 15 million cubic meters of water per second. It keeps everything from weather systems and environmental climates within livable ranges and determines everything from crop production in Africa to sea level rise on the East Coast of the United States. It impacts everything from human and animal migration patterns to drought, flooding, and disease–all of which will impact everything from the global economy to the relative political stability of the world.

To put it in bodily terms, the AMOC is like the circulatory system. If it stops or changes dramatically, a whole lot of things go off the rails. Most scientists believe that the last time that the AMOC shut down was more than 14,500 years ago, during the transition out of the last ice age.

Why is the AMOC in the news?

Late last week, Nature Communications published a paper that predicts that the AMOC could shut down completely as soon as 2025 and no later than 2095. That timeline is far from concrete, and there are a number of scientists who disagree with the findings.

Scientists around the world have only been monitoring the AMOC since 2004, which in global scientific terms isn’t terribly long. Yet in March of this year, the IPCC put out the first installment of the sixth assessment (AR6 WG1), which included in it a very strong scientific consensus for a slowdown and potential collapse within the next century.

According to the report, “There is medium confidence that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation will not collapse abruptly before 2100, but if it were to occur, it would very likely cause abrupt shifts in regional weather patterns and large impacts on ecosystems and human activities.” The IPCC has predicted that the AMOC will slow, but they don’t believe that it's imminent, unlike the recent paper that was just published.

What will happen if (and when) the AMOC collapses?

According to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, if the AMOC collapses, the results could be catastrophic. “Cooling across large parts of the northern hemisphere, changes in tropical rainfall, and non-linear changes in sea-level rise in the North Atlantic Ocean,” are just a few of the overarching changes that the globe could expect. It’s important to note that such a significant shutdown would likely have implications that scientists can’t currently predict, as well.

Those who don’t believe that a catastrophic shutdown is imminent say that while the paper does use historical measures of ocean temperature, it does not offer up a reason as to why the AMOC might suddenly collapse.

Most scientists believe that the AMOC is, in fact, slowing and that global warming may have sped up some of that slowing by causing the ice caps to melt at a faster rate and mixing fresh water with salty sea water, changing the speed and direction of the AMOC in some ways. The bottom line, however, is that most climate scientists believe that we still need more information to determine just how close we are to the shutdown of the AMOC.

Companies Working to Cool the Oceans

While the recent paper grabbed a significant number of headlines around the world, one thing is abundantly clear: To avoid potential catastrophe, the world needs to work together to reduce global warming as quickly as possible.

Here are three companies working in and around the ocean space to slow down the rising heat levels in our oceans.

Running Tide

Running Tide is a Maine-based company that is focused on a multi-pronged approach to improving the health of the world’s oceans. They do everything from crafting technology solutions that integrate engineered and biological systems to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, restore ecosystems, and secure food systems, to offer sensors that measure ocean metrics. They currently have three remote positions open, including one for an Ocean Research Scientist.

Verterra Energy

Verterra Energy harnesses the power of the watershed to generate zero-emissions energy. The Minnesota-based company currently has three openings in Saint Paul for engineering positions.

Nautilus Labs

Nautlius Labsis a voyage management company that maximizes commercial returns of voyages in the current market and decarbonizes the journey. The India-based company has hubs in Singapore, New York, London and Paris and they’re currently hiring for nine different positions around the world.

SURVEY: What did you think of this edition of This Week in Climate? Let us know in our feedback survey here!

🌎 New Climate Jobs

Check out some of the latest featured jobs below. If you don't see anything that speaks to you, you can always go to Climatebase to explore thousands of other opportunities.

“We are a leading social enterprise dedicated to addressing poverty, food security, and climate change through innovative biodigester technology, training, and financing. Our mission is to empower farmers worldwide by providing access to high-quality, affordable biodigesters that convert waste into renewable energy and organic fertilizer. We are based in Mexico, Colombia, Kenya ...”

  • Junior Salesforce Administrator, Global team (Remote (Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico))


“We are a leading project developer of carbon negative projects dedicated to radically altering the trajectory of climate change. Our mission is to lead the world in carbon dioxide removal that sets the highest standards of permanence, quality, affordability at scale. We partner with industrial emitters, technology companies and CO2 transport and storage companies to build, own and operate best-in-class ...”

  • Business Development Manager (Remote)


“Recoolit empowers sustainable cooling around the world. Air conditioning is critical for climate resilience: as the world gets hotter, AC adoption is projected to 5x in emerging markets by 2050. However this comes with a massive environmental impact as the refrigerant chemicals in air conditioning cause 6% of all climate change. We are creating a software platform and logistics network that supports ...”

  • Senior Software Engineer (fullstack) (Jakarta, Indonesia)

City of San Jose

“San José Clean Energy, or SJCE, is San José’s local, not-for-profit electricity supplier operated by the City of San José. Since 2019, we have provided clean energy for residents and businesses at competitive rates, while also offering community programs, local control, and more transparency and accessibility. Our community is at the core of what we do ...”

  • Legislative Affairs Specialist (Power Resources Specialist I/II) - Community Energy Department
  • Energy Services Manager (Senior Power Resources Specialist), Community Energy Department (San Jose, CA, USA)

Sirona Technologies

“We believe we can build a better future where humans live in harmony with nature. Our mission is to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future by leveraging technology to support nature's carbon cycle through the removal of CO2 from the air and its return to the ground. As pragmatic engineers, we understand the urgency of the climate crisis and the ...”

  • Machine Designer (Brussels, Belgium)
  • Strategy/Business/Operations Associate (Brussels, Belgium)

“ is a climate startup based in Seattle on a mission to accelerate the transition to clean energy by bringing corporate capital to renewable energy projects. We are building a marketplace for investment tax credits that fund renewable energy projects, through which tax credit buyers can make an easy financial return, and we enable companies with sustainability goals to commit ...”

  • Manager - Sales, Partnerships, and Sustainability (Seattle, WA, USA)

Interstate Renewable Energy Council

“IREC is a nonprofit working toward a 100% clean energy future that is reliable, resilient, and equitable. Our mission is to build the foundation for rapid adoption of clean energy and energy efficiency to benefit people, the economy, and our planet. ...”

  • Program Manager – Workforce Development (Remote)


“Arbor is a smart energy platform that helps you automatically lower your electric rate on an ongoing basis. Customers who switch save an average of $544 per year. ...”

  • Content Marketing Manager (Remote (Austin, TX, USA))
  • Head of Brokerage (Remote (Austin, TX, USA))
  • Customer Operations Manager (Austin, TX, USA)
  • Product Manager (Remote (Austin, TX, USA))
  • Product Design Lead (Remote (Austin, TX, USA))

CEG Solutions LLC

“CEG Solutions delivers turnkey, design-build projects that are paid for using the savings the projects produce. We assess, design, construct, finance, operate, maintain, and verify energy conservation measures across the full spectrum of energy-saving, water-saving renewable energy generation, and resilience technologies. In only 10 years, our projects have helped avoid 266,408 MTCO2e emissions. We are a diverse, high-performing team of over ...”

  • Associate Engineer (Remote)
  • Energy Project Developer (Remote)
  • Energy Efficiency - Quality Control Manager (Remote)
  • Construction Manager (Energy Efficiency and Resilience) (Remote)
  • Senior Energy Engineer (Remote (Arlington, VA, USA))

Blue Whale Materials

“Blue Whale Materials is an American recycling company working toward a greener and more sustainable global battery supply chain. It is building a lithium-ion battery recycling facility, producing an ethically sourced stream of cobalt, nickel, manganese, and lithium in the first stage of a closed-loop solution for lithium-ion battery manufacturers. ...”

  • Sr. Chemical Process Engineer (Remote (Hybrid, Remote))

Native, A Public Benefit Corporation

“Since 2000, Native has worked with clients to develop authentic solutions to their sustainability challenges and to implement community-scale projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen clients’ businesses, and contribute to progress on climate change around the world. We construct unique project portfolios to meet climate goals, drive business value, and deliver tangible benefits to stakeholder communities – from customers and ...”

  • Data Engineer (Burlington, VT, United States)
  • Data Engineer (Remote (Burlington, VT, USA))


“RMI is an independent nonprofit founded in 1982 that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and NGOs to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at ...”

  • Operations Lead, Editorial (Remote (U.S.))
  • Knowledge Catalog Project Coordinator (Remote (U.S.))
  • Associate (Remote)
  • Battery Circular Economy Manager (Remote (U.S.))
  • Business Development Manager (Beijing)
  • Program Services, Program Operations Manager (Remote (U.S.))
  • Research Manager - Third Derivative (Remote (U.S.))
  • Petroleum Production Expert (Remote (U.S.))
  • Associate – Southeast Asia Program (Remote (International))
  • Industry Decarbonization Manager (Remote (U.S.))
  • Natural Gas Decarbonization and Methane Solutions Manager (Remote (U.S.))
  • Principal, Carbon Markets (Remote (U.S.))
  • Associate - Climate Finance Access Network (Remote (Fiji))
  • Manager - Hydrogen (Beijing)
  • Senior Associate - Climate Aligned Industries (Remote (U.S.))
  • Senior Associate - China Power Decarbonization (Beijing)
  • Senior Associate - China Hydrogen Team (Beijing)
  • Senior Associate - China Hydrogen Team (Beijing)
  • Senior Program Director- Southeast Asia (Remote (International))
  • Managing Director, Buildings (Remote (U.S.))

Presto Charging

“At Presto, we are creating mobile solutions for electric fleets to provide their drivers with seamless, reliable, and cost-effective charging while growing utilization for charging owners and networks. We believe charging should be ubiquitous, reliable and affordable and will relentlessly improve the charging customer experience. Presto is backed by Congruent Ventures, Powerhouse, and prominent climate-tech angel investors. The founding team has ...”

  • Senior Software Engineer, Platform (Remote)
  • Senior Software Engineer, Mobile (Remote)

Deep Sky

“Deep Sky is a carbon dioxide removal (CDR) project developer in Canada that seeks to slow, arrest and ultimately reverse the accelerating march towards global climate disaster through carbon removal and long-term storage. In partnership with leading carbon capture technology developers from around the world, Deep Sky will build infrastructure to capture and permanently sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere ...”

  • Scientifique du climat et des données / Climate & Data Scientist (Remote)
  • Ingénieur(e) principal(e) en stockage de CO2 / Senior Carbon Storage Engineer (Remote (Montréal))
  • Chef de stockage de carbone / Head of Carbon Storage (Remote (Montréal))
  • Ingénieur(e) principal(e) de projets / Head of Project Engineering (Remote (Montréal))
  • Ingénieur(e) principal(e) de captage CO2 / Senior Carbon Capture Engineer (Remote (Montréal))


“Artyc is on a mission to decarbonize cold chain logistics with refrigerant-free, reusable, active cooling containers. Refrigerants are quickly becoming the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and, in combination with the loss of agricultural, pharmaceutical, and medical goods in transit, are expected to have an impact of 160 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions across the next decade. Artyc ...”

  • Account Executive (Remote (Remote - Fremont, CA))
  • Staff Firmware Engineer (Remote (Fremont, CA))
  • Senior Firmware Engineer (Remote (Fremont, CA))
  • Firmware Engineer (Remote (Fremont, CA))


“Our mission is to decarbonize the transportation industry, and we devote our technology, time and talent to advancing the transition to sustainable low-carbon fuels. In 2010 we set a challenge to produce an alternative fuel which could compete with fossil fuels from both an environmental and economic perspective. In this time we have developed and patented breakthrough technology, which successfully achieves ...”

  • Engineering Intern (Palma, Spain)
  • Operations Intern (Palma, Spain)


“Gradient’s mission is to cool the world by transforming every home to be more comfortable and healthy for the people who inhabit it — without compromising the environment. Today, heating and cooling equipment emit more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector, and expansion in the use of cooling is projected to double these emissions in the next 30 ...”

  • Customer Experience Specialist (Remote (Remote ))
  • Sr. Manager - Engineering Program Management (San Francisco )
  • Senior Firmware Engineer (San Francisco, CA )

Natural Resources Defense Council

“The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. We use law, science, and the support of 3.1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. NRDC was founded in 1970 and our staff helped write ...”

  • Adaptation Lead (Chicago, IL, US)
  • Development Manager, Western Region (San Francisco, CA, US)
  • State Industrial Advocate (Washington, DC, US)
  • Analytics Engineer (New York, NY, US)
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Partner (Chicago, IL, US)
  • Development Chief of Staff (US)
  • Senior Vice President for Environmental Health (US)
  • Administrative Officer (Beijing, CN)
  • Project Coordinator (Beijing, CN)
  • Senior Project Manager, Nature Conservation (Beijing, CN)
  • Senior Electric Vehicle and Infrastructure Advocate (San Francisco, CA, US)
  • Senior Vice President for International (US)
  • Northeastern Campaign Manager (Harrisburg, PA, US)
  • Manager of Digital Fundraising Operations (New York, NY, US)
  • Administrative Coordinator (Washington, DC, US)
  • Eastern Industrial & Clean Energy Advocate (New York, NY, US)
  • Technical Analyst for Industry and Emerging Technologies (Washington, DC, US)
  • State Industrial Advocate (Washington, DC, US)
  • Director, Data and Analytics Strategy (New York, NY, US)
  • Litigation Assistant (San Francisco, CA, US)
  • E2 Western States Advocate (San Francisco, CA, US)
  • Administrative Assistant (Washington, DC, US)
  • Program Assistant (Washington, DC, US)
  • Press Secretary (Washington, DC, US)
  • Southeastern Regional Communications Manager, Media (Washington, DC, US)

Friends of the Earth

“Friends of the Earth (FOE) is a national not for profit environmental organization driven by passion for a healthier and more just world. We push for the bold reforms that are needed. It’s an approach that has worked for five decades to produce important victories that help protect our planet and its people. We’re part of Friends of the Earth International, a federation of ...”

  • Midlevel Giving Specialist/Senior Midlevel Giving Officer – Band B/C (Remote (Remote))
  • Senior Forest, Land & Climate Finance Policy Advocate-Remote (Band C) (Remote (Berkeley, California))

That's it for this week! Remember, you can always view thousands of more jobs on

Final reminders...

👋 Get discovered. Create a profile to have employers hire you.

🚀 Accelerate your climate career. Apply to join the Climatebase Fellowship.

🌱 Hiring? Post your jobs to reach over 200k monthly users users and over 70,000 newsletter readers

❤️️ Share a link to this week's edition

🐦 Let's connect! Follow us on Twitter @Climatebase, and our co-founders @evandhynes and @jhardin925

The Author

Abigail Bassett