Gulf Stream – Does it Influence our Winter Weather?

September 13, 2011

Weather Forecasts

It seems that every year as we approach winter, articles begin to appear claiming that the Gulf Stream which runs across the Atlantic and up to the North of the United Kingdom has slowed or stopped. The Gulf Stream is responsible for keeping the Atlantic relatively warm for it’s latitude and thanks to prevailing Westerly winds, keeps the UK and Europe warm too.

The articles claim that as the Gulf Stream has slowed/stopped, the UK and Europe will experiance harsher winters, unfortunately, this is a complete load of rubbish. The Gulf Stream fluctuates constantly and often slows for a short period of time before speeding back up again. If the Gulf Stream were to suddenly switch off, and stop supplying the Atlantic with these warmer waters, the UK and Europe would not suddenly plunge into an Ice Age. In fact, it would take quite a few years before we see any noticable effects on our weather.

The reason being, is that the Gulf Stream does NOT directly influence our weather, as explained above, it brings warmer waters up into the Atlantic, which heats the air, and the prevailing Westerly Winds bring that air across the United Kingdom. You could liken the Gulf Stream to a hot tap in the bath. You run a hot bath, when you turn off that hot tap, the water doesn’t suddenly plung into coldness, it slowly cools over time. The Gulf Stream is the same, if it does shut off, which there’s no evidence whatsoever suggesting it will, it would take a long period of time for the effects to start influencing our weather patterns.



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5 Comments on “Gulf Stream – Does it Influence our Winter Weather?”

  1. Julien Martel Says:

    If the Conveyor-Belt slowing, i think than the sea of Norway could be freezing very fast and a big anticyclone will take place in Scandinavia.
    Sorry for my English im French


  2. Derp Face Says:

    But the currents will still be moving, which means any warm water will be quickly washed away, meaning Europe is doomed. Get your facts right.


  3. Daniel Smith Says:

    Hi “Derp Face”

    If the currents are still moving then the Gulf Stream will still be active with warm water flowing up from the Tropics, so I’m not entirely sure what you mean.

    If you could provide more of an explanation with some evidence to back it up, I’d be happy to have a friendly debate with you.



  4. Anth Says:

    Would the gulf stream not change direction and be restricted from rising due to thermohaline circulation being affected from an influx of fresh water due to melting glaciers in Greenland.

    With warm waters being prevented from rising coastal winds would be cooler which would directly affect our climate.


  5. jamie Says:

    Does it matter if it slows/stops. Humans will prevail and adapt


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