Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => The Environment => Topic started by: syhprum on 25/01/2019 16:29:21

Title: Does the Gulf stream keep us warm?
Post by: syhprum on 25/01/2019 16:29:21
The mild winters encountered by western Europe are commonly attributed to gulf stream channelling relatively warm water around us from the tropics with the warning that this stream may well be disrupted by global warming with the effect of us getting winter temperatures more appropriate to our latitude.
Is this true ?, it is asserted that westerly winds and the jet stream skirting above the British isles has a much larger effect.
Title: Re: Does the Gulf stream keep us warm?
Post by: Bored chemist on 27/01/2019 21:02:33
If those westerly winds were blowing across something cold before they got to us...
Are there other places at our latitude with the jet stream? If so, how's their weather?
Title: Re: Does the Gulf stream keep us warm?
Post by: syhprum on 30/01/2019 15:22:40
One small "country" whose weather seems to be primarily controlled by the winds is the Falklands where the temperature varies between 5 and 12C summer or winter
Title: Re: Does the Gulf stream keep us warm?
Post by: chiralSPO on 30/01/2019 15:30:50
Yes, the Gulf stream keeps Western Europe much warmer than it would otherwise be.

I lived in New England for about a decade. Our temperatures throughout the year were quite comparable to those in London, despite the fact that our latitude was almost exactly the same as Rome...

I don't think that our weather was the anomaly. Rather, Western Europe is much warmer than Eastern US because of the Gulf Stream.
Title: Re: Does the Gulf stream keep us warm?
Post by: syhprum on 30/01/2019 16:40:41
I am well aware of the temperature anomaly but the point I was making was that I have seen suggestions that the gulf stream had little to do with it so we should not fear colder winters on the way, I will try and find references.
Title: Re: Does the Gulf stream keep us warm?
Post by: chiralSPO on 30/01/2019 18:17:02
Ah. Sorry to have misinterpreted the question.

I don't have any extra information to share. I would be surprised if the flow of warm air from the Gulf to Europe were unrelated to the anomaly...
Title: Re: Does the Gulf stream keep us warm?
Post by: Bored chemist on 30/01/2019 19:48:56
I can go + stick a thermometer in the sea off Ireland and prove that the Gulf stream exists.

How could it not heat the West of Europe?
What would be the mechanism for it not affecting our climate?
Title: Re: Does the Gulf stream keep us warm?
Post by: AnnaScott on 10/03/2019 19:36:12
Definitely, the warm current of the powerful Gulf Stream brings warmth and makes mild winters in Western Europe, and the wind can only additionally influence the weather and climate.
Title: Re: Does the Gulf stream keep us warm?
Post by: evan_au on 10/03/2019 21:15:00
Some IPCC studies suggest that the Gulf Stream will weaken, rather than stop entirely.
- In this scenario, they estimate that the general global temperature increase will compensate for the local cooldown in Europe.
- However, a complete shutdown of the Gulf Stream would be more severe.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shutdown_of_thermohaline_circulation#Thermohaline_circulation_and_fresh_water

Another comment from the same article: the path of the Gulf Stream is affected by winds.