Posts Tagged ‘Gulf Stream’

Warm Water Causing Cold Winters

May 9, 2011 Comments off


This map shows sea‑surface temperatures averaged over eight days in September 2001, as measured by NASA’s Terra satellite. Dark red represents warm water (32 degrees Celsius) and purple is cold (‑2 degrees Celsius). The Gulf Stream can be seen as the orange strip extending from the eastern U.S. toward the Atlantic.

Imagine this: you are standing outside in New York City while waiting for a cab. It is in the winter and you are likely freezing. What if you were doing the same thing, but in Porto, Portugal?

Porto shares the same latitude at the Big Apple, but in Portugal you would be about 10 degrees warmer.

This happens for the northeastern coast of the U.S. and eastern coast of Canada. This is also true in other parts of the world. When the northeastern coast of Asia is colder, the Pacific Northwest is warmer.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have found an explanation. The culprit is warmer water off the eastern coasts of Read more…

Arctic meltwater could lower temperatures at home, study warns

April 6, 2011 Comments off


Arctic meltwater could lower temperatures at home, study warns

A pool of melted ice water could move south towards Britain Photo: REX FEATURES

The pool, which has grown by more than a fifth over the last decade, could interrupt the flow of the Gulf Stream which brings warm water from the tropics, raising average European temperatures by between five and ten degrees Celsius.

Scientists are monitoring the large area of cold water amid fears that changing wind patterns could move it south towards the North Atlantic.

A study by 17 institutes from ten European countries warned that the effects of the melted ice could be abrupt in altering the balance of the Thermohaline Circulation, which keeps warmer waters flowing across the Atlantic.

One theory is that the circulation could slow down dramatically within two decades sending average temperatures plummeting.

The possibility echoes the plot of the 2004 disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow, which depicted the catastrophic effects on world climates when the delicate balance maintained by ocean circulation is suddenly lost.

Scientists have also expressed concern on the environment should the pool of largely fresh water enter the Atlantic altering its salinity levels.

Laura de Steur, an oceanographer at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, who helped lead the study told The Times: “Large regional changes could be in store if the ocean circulation changes.”

But researchers have been unable to accurately predict if or when the pool with move southwards.