[Coral-List] The Gulf Stream

Keven Reed reedkc at comcast.net
Sat Jan 26 09:21:50 EST 2008

Dear Melissa & other coral-listers,

    Disregarding the current changes that may be occurring in the Gulf Stream, one should be aware of Richard Seager and Battisti's work about the influence of the Gulf Stream on Western Europe's average wintertime temperatures (specifically United Kingdom/England).  

    I'd be appreciative to know if any physical oceanographers or atmospheric scientists took significant exception to Richard Seager's findings published in American Scientist, Vol 94 (July-Aug 2006), "The Source of Europe's Mild Climate".??   
    In his article, Seager called the relationship between Britain's climate and the Gulf Stream "...the earth-science equivalent of an urban legend."  That's a paradigm shift!  Some of his comments about the Younger Dryas event, thermohaline circulation effects, etc.. were surprising to me.

    If anyone has trouble accessing the article, I can email a pdf of it.  The web site for American Scientist journal is www.americanscientist.org.


Keven Reed, O.D.
Orange Park Eye Center
Orange Park, FL  32003
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Melissa Keyes 
  To: Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov 
  Sent: Monday, January 14, 2008 5:29 AM
  Subject: [Coral-List] The Gulf Stream

  Hello, Listers,
    30% weakening of the Gulf Stream detected.  The following is blatantly copied off the internet:
    THE Gulf Stream currents that give Britain its mild climate have weakened dramatically, offering the first firm scientific evidence of a slowdown that threatens the country with temperatures as cold as Canada's. 
    The rest of the article at:  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1898493,00.html
    And another from North Carolina, U.S.A.:
    A consequence of the theory of global warming is that the polar ice caps will melt, and scientists postulated that this would have a dramatic affect on the Gulf Stream. 
    With global warming, extra freshwater from the melting ice caps and glaciers reduces the salinity of the Arctic waters, stopping it from sinking, and breaking the circuit of the Gulf Stream.
    Scientists have always predicted that the melting of the ice caps could disrupt the Gulf Stream, but new research suggests this process is already in play. In fact, they have concluded that the strength of the Gulf Stream has weakened by 30 percent in just the past 12 years. 
    Furthermore, these studies point to a cooling of 1C (1.8F) over the next decade or two for Britain's climate, with an even deeper freeze predicted if the Gulf Stream system were to shut down completely.
    Though most oceanographers think it is very unlikely that the Gulf Stream will stop altogether, if it did happen, it could reduce average temperatures by between 4C (7.2F) and 6C (10.8F) in as little as 20 years, far outweighing any increase in temperatures predicted across the globe as a result of global warming. Essentially, as the rest of the world heats up, Britain and the British Isles would get much colder.
    Over the same period of time, the flow of warm water that branches off the Gulf Stream near the North Carolina coast and heads east towards Africa has increased significantly, contributing in the decline of warm waters being carried to Europe.
    A project is currently underway to determine if these findings were an indication of a long term, progressing problem for the Gulf Stream, or simply a disruption that may change seasonally or annually. The currents of the Gulf Stream will be monitored continuously for a four year period to find the answer to this question.
    The rest of the article at:  http://www.ncbeaches.com/Features/Weather/GulfStream/
    Melissa E. Keyes
    St. Croix, USVI, Caribbean

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