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January 30, 2003 11:00 AM   Subscribe

The warm water ocean currents of the Gulf Stream are why London rarely gets snow yet Boston is fridged despite London being as far north as Montreal, Canada. New weather modeling research from Columbia University may turn this long-held belief on its head; London can thank the Rocky Mountains for its mild winters. Good news for the rest of Europe too in case the Gulf Stream stops due to Arctic melting.
posted by stbalbach (22 comments total)

 
London rarely gets snow? Bah - cruel coincidence - I'm sitting here right now looking at a miserable Clerkenwell blizzard, it's 19:30 pm, all the tubes are fucked and I'm contemplating a long, slow, crowded, cold and miserable journey home.

What's the weather like in Boston?
posted by bifter at 11:28 AM on January 30, 2003


At 0154 PM EST, Boston is overcast.

Temperature: 1 °C / 34 °F
Dew Point: -6 °C / 21 °F
Windchill: -2°C / 29 °F
Relative Humidity: 60%
Wind: from N @ 6 MPH
Visibility: 10 miles / Ceiling: 3300 ft
Pressure: 1031.8 mb
posted by iceberg273 at 11:39 AM on January 30, 2003


Just curious, but did you mean to say "fridged" or "frigid"? Either way, they sort of work out the same way, don't they?

Now, off to read the links...
posted by ashbury at 11:39 AM on January 30, 2003


full paper here. No, I'm not convinced yet.
posted by BigCalm at 12:06 PM on January 30, 2003


Of course, the French will deny this theory, because it makes them even more dependent on the United States. I love it!

Threaten the French: either shut up with your paranoid conspiratorial anti-American rantings, or we're taking down the Rockies and will turn turn off your heat!

Wasn't there once an Aquaman episode like that?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:13 PM on January 30, 2003


Of course, the French will deny this theory, because it makes them even more dependent on the United States. I love it!

Huh? Why are you dragging the French into this? As far as I know the links cited don't mention the French, and no one else has either.

Why do you hate the French so much?
posted by bshort at 12:19 PM on January 30, 2003


Honestly, shouldn't the French be asking themselves "why do they hate us?"
posted by Jos Bleau at 12:30 PM on January 30, 2003


I spent a week in london very recently. Snowed the entire time. Strange, huh?
posted by justgary at 12:35 PM on January 30, 2003



Honestly, shouldn't the French be asking themselves "why do they hate us"?


Well, since I don't think that's really true, and since the French nation isn't present here on our little corner of the web, I thought I'd address Paris, who, it seems, has a rather large bone to pick.
posted by bshort at 12:36 PM on January 30, 2003


I seem to remember that the supposed cause of our current Ice Age Cycle that began approx. 3 million years ago was the volcanic creation of the Isthmus of Panama at that time, blocking Atlantic-to-Pacific circulation and creating the Gulf Stream, which left the world climate vulnerable to shifts due to earth wobbling on it's axis, arctic melting, and such.

Is that supposition addressed by the new theory as well?
posted by Jos Bleau at 12:45 PM on January 30, 2003


Jos Bleau - I haven't run across any such speculation, but I'm sure it exists - it seems like a basic proposition to me that the creation of the Isthmus would impede heat distribution, which is really the core of the problem.

StBalbach - If this research pans out, it raises the question, "well, what IS the trigger for the sudden, massive climate shifts such as the two that bracketed the Younger Dryas period?"
posted by troutfishing at 1:00 PM on January 30, 2003


France stays warm because of ParisParamus's regular supply of hot air. Though the French would gladly take the snow. (Said half-heartedly, thankful that I don't drive in snow-bound London.)
posted by riviera at 2:11 PM on January 30, 2003


Screw Europe. Let's flatten Colorado now and warm up!!
posted by pyramid termite at 2:18 PM on January 30, 2003


I thought I'd address Paris, who, it seems, has a rather large bone to pick.

It's sort of a semi-inside joke, based on having lived there, and actually having though I wanted to stay there (during the Reagan years, primarily--were you born yet?). Actually, I've met a number of nice people there, even fallen in love with two or three. It's more that collectively, the place is styfling, bureaucratic, depressing, stagnant, filled with smoke, has a horrid, arrogant foreign policy, and they eat rabbits (like the late Oolong), horses and snails. And seem not to like Jews. But I like the TGV and their French fries and lingerie. I also met a few nice dogs there. So I'm quite torn.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:35 PM on January 30, 2003


Also, I wish the had the Picard frozen food stores here. But without frozen snails or rabbits.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:37 PM on January 30, 2003


Are we off the subject yet?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:38 PM on January 30, 2003


You posted this the day London and surrounding areas got pretty heavy snow... chaos for miles around - trains delayed and cancelled - roads gridlocked.
posted by nthdegx at 3:25 PM on January 30, 2003


BigCalm -- Thanks for the link to the original paper.

troutfishing -- what caused the changes in the past? Those are big questions. I believe western science tries to atomize everything to a single cause and when dealing with large-scale networks like Weather its going to be lots of diffrent elements working together. We may never know for sure exactly all the forces at work in the past.

To the person who emailed me -- thanks for the info that London is actually 500 miles NORTH of Montreal.

Londoners in the Snow -- Cheers!
posted by stbalbach at 3:53 PM on January 30, 2003


A butterfly flaps its' wings in China...
posted by davidmsc at 5:11 PM on January 30, 2003


Sorry, I just can't let this thread end without a reference to the other Gulfstream, frequently seen over the Rockies at this time of the year (near Vail and Aspen, usually) - one that may actually help cause artic melting, instead of merely being effected by it ...
posted by Jos Bleau at 7:47 PM on January 30, 2003


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow....
posted by brettski at 2:27 AM on January 31, 2003


St. Balbach - By the way, thanks for the link. That piece of research will certainly send shock waves through the research community. I still wonder about the hypothesis concerning Ocean Circulation's role in triggering nonlinear shifts: this piece doesn't necessarily disprove that hypothesis - it's more about the Gulf Stream's contribution to the overall heat budget of Europe. But past shutdowns in Ocean Circulation still coincide exactly with observed sudden climate shifts. So: is there some other factor which precipitates the shifts - which then, in turn, shuts down the circulation? (circulation shutdown as a consequence, not a driving force)
posted by troutfishing at 6:26 AM on January 31, 2003


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