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
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