Subscribe
Subscribe
MY AMERICAN SCIENTIST
LOG IN! REGISTER!
SEARCH
 
Logo IMG
HOME > PAST ISSUE > July-August 2006 > Article Detail

FEATURE ARTICLE

The Source of Europe's Mild Climate

The notion that the Gulf Stream is responsible for keeping Europe anomalously warm turns out to be a myth

Richard Seager

Figure 2. Average January air temperatures...Click to Enlarge Image

Countless magazine and newspaper stories have asserted that the the flow of warm water from the Gulf of Mexico north and east across the Atlantic accounts for why winters in, say, London, are so much more pleasant than those in Labrador, which lies at the same latitude. Despite what seem to be supporting statements from many oceanographers, it turns out that this description is highly misleading. In fact, England and France enjoy milder winters than eastern Canada in large part because prevailing winds at these latitudes blow from west to east over the comparatively warm ocean, thus allowing much of Europe to have a mild "maritime" climate. In addition, the Rocky Mountains cause a waviness in the general west-to-east flow that sends air somewhat south when it departs North America and then back north (after picking up heat from lower latitudes) when it blows over Europe.


 Go to Article


comments powered by Disqus
 

EMAIL TO A FRIEND :

Subscribe to American Scientist