For those who think that the hot summer temperatures in Europe are a sign of climate change (and global warming) and for those who see very cold winters and snow precipitation in London as a sign that climate change doesn’t exist – read below!
Whether you believe in anthropogenic cause of climate change or not, the things are actually not as you may think and climate is a bit more complex than that.
Raising global temperature could actually cause another Ice Age!
If you compare London latitude to the other side of the Atlantic (Labrador Peninsula above New Foundland) you will notice a striking difference in climate and average yearly temperatures. In Canada there are floating icebergs by the coast, whilst in London they barely get snow in winter.
It is the Gulfstream (in the video) which is responsible for such mild temperatures in Europe and bringing all the warm water from the hot Gulf of Mexico to London (in our example). The current flows because of the difference in water density: warm water (has a lower density) rises to the surface whereas cold water (has a higher density) sinks to the bottom. In the Arctic (up in the North – not to be mistaken with the Antarctic in the South) that cold sinking water pulls the warm less dense water creating a so-called conveyor belt (which btw is part of a bigger global system of water currents). The density of water is also affected by the salinity (so melting ice will create a less dense water in the North).
With the smaller water density difference between these two points: Gulf of Mexico and Arctic Ocean (because of warmer arctic waters and more fresh water from melting ice) the Gulfstream will become slower, weaker and might actually cease completely. Should this happen, the European mild climate will revert to what exists at the same latitude in America – so much cooler, not warmer, than currently!
There is more so hold on…
The end of the Gulfstream (and the lack of circulation exchange between the hot regions and cold regions) will actually trigger a new ice age in Europe! Yep, you heard me! Rising temperatures of the Arctic Ocean and melting Arctic ice will halt the Gulfstream (and other global water currents) and will trigger a new ice age!
Just imagine the UK, (and Buckingham Palace) permanently covered with snow and ice! So you might want to start buying even more warm winter clothes before they are all sold out 🙂
Whilst you are preparing for the unknown future you can be certain of one thing: The climate was always changing, it is changing now, and will be changing in the future.