Global Warming Chills UK?

By: Elizabeth Palmer
By: Elizabeth Palmer

If you think it's chilly here you should feel what it's like in England right now. Scientists think global warming is sending a chill through the UK.

Freak snowstorms closed roads last week in southern Britain and left thousands freezing and stranded. The last thing Europeans wanted to hear was more chilly news, and yet British ocean scientists are sounding the alarm.

One of the earth's great natural radiators, the Gulf stream, is cooling down.

“When the observations came back and the circulation was so different, I really was surprised. It was news, that's what I think it is.”

The Gulf stream starts in the southern tropical oceans, then swirls up around and across the Atlantic, bringing warm water north along the shore of Europe and eventually up to Greenland, where it cools and sinks. The scientists now say the Gulf stream had weakened by fully one third. That could mean more cold for northern Europe, which depends on the warm current for its mild climate.

“It worries me in the sense that we are changing this climate system; we don't really understand the consequences of what we are doing.”

And what's to blame? Scientists think millions of tones of melting glacier water in the north Atlantic and abnormally heavy rains have disrupted the Gulf stream, meaning that global warming may be causing Europe's cooling, one more unpredictable twist in worldwide climate change.


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