Science Questions

Do changes in wind speed alter the gulf stream?

Sun, 27th Mar 2011

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John, Cherry Hinton asked:

Are changes in wind speed causing changes to our weather systems? Are they affecting for instance, the Gulf Streams and the Jet Streams?


This question was asked in response to this news story...

Diana -   Well that's a really interesting question and I think the answer is, we don't know!  The researchers only really looked at wind speeds and wave heights, and the Gulf Stream and the Jet Stream systems are so complex, and have so many factors involved in them, that its difficult to know how wind speeds might affect them.  Perhaps the Gulf Stream, which can determine wind speeds because of the heat that comes off the ocean and so forth, that almost certainly will have some kind of interaction, but I've no idea what it might be.

Chris -   And also factoring in the fact that if were going to shed ice from the Arctic because of global warming, this will put cool water which is also fresh water into the sea, and this could affect the conveyor systems that carry that warm water around the globe anyway.  So the whole thing could change, but for other reasons as well.

Diana -   Exactly.


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