A recent study by scientists at the University of Hawaii at Manoa suggests that the Gulf Stream current in the western Atlantic Ocean affects weather conditions as high as seven miles high.
The warm ocean current plays a major roll in keeping temperatures in parts of western Europe warmer than other areas at similar latitudes in Europe and North America. Strong storms also form over the Gulf Stream waters and frequently cause heavy rain to fall over western Europe.
According to ScienceDaily, the study hows that a band of rain forms and anchors along the Gulf Stream due to upward motions that extend upward to nearly seven miles into the atmosphere. A team of scientists from Japan and the U.S. says that the Gulf Stream has a direct impact on weather patterns over the entire Northern Hemisphere and may even impact conditions across the world.
The report from the team of researchers says that their first indication of the Gulf Stream's effects came from high-resolution satellite data from NASA that showed rain bands that stick around over the warm flank of the currents. Wind circulations with areas of rising and sinking air that form along the current help to create these rain bands.
The scientists say that the upward wind motion is strongest in the first mile above the surface and can be seen as high as seven miles high. They say that the strength of the Gulf Stream has changed in the past in response to warm periods and ice ages.