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.