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View Full Version : Are colder winters setting for good over Europe ?



Maciamo
08-01-10, 23:29
This winter is unusually cold and snowy. South-West Europe is particularly badly affected. Iberia and southern France have rarely experienced such extreme weather conditions.

Western Europe normally enjoys very mild winters thanks to the beneficial influence of the Gulf Stream, a warm current from the Gulf of Mexico crossing the Atlantic and pouring itself on the British Isles, France and Iberia.

If you are not convinced that Western Europe is exceptionally warm for it's latitude, just have a look at the globe. Naples and Porto are at the same latitude as New York, and further north than Beijing. London is at the same distance from the poles as Central Quebec, and more north than Mongolia. Oslo or Helsinki are at comparable latitudes to central Siberia, Alaska or southern Nunavut (Inuit land). If northern Europe is inhabitable as it is, it is only thanks to the Gulf Stream.

It may sound ironic that Global Warming is causing colder winters over Europe, but there is an explanation. While the ice cap is melting over the North Pole cold fresh water is flowing into the Atlantic Ocean. This has for effect to deviate the Gulf Stream to the south, effectively towards the Sahara, and bypassing Europe.

I am afraid that the process has started, and it will be irreversible (well, for at least a few thousand years, maybe hundreds of thousands of years, so pretty much irreversible as far as we and our offspring are concerned). The ice has melted enough in Northern Canada to navigate from the Atlantic to the Pacific in summer. Polar bears and elks are left melting islands of ice, then drowning. The ice cap is really melting, fast. Arctic water is flowing into the Atlantic and the whole European climate is affected, especially in the Atlantic coast.

I don't want to be pessimistic, but I am afraid it is already too late. Be prepared for Russian- or Canadian-style winters in the years or decades to come. Summers shouldn't be affected that much though, and will actually get hotter, because after all the Earth is getting warmer. So it's time to say goodbye to our cherished temperate climate and get ready for very cold winters and hot summers. I hope I am wrong, but I don't think I am.

^ lynx ^
08-01-10, 23:35
Summer of 2008 was especially hot I may add.

LeBrok
09-01-10, 03:56
Not so fast captain :), I have a good news.
Ground Stations on Greenland don't indicate anything unusual. Actually temperature measurements show that 1930s and 40s where the warmest years in Greenland. Surely there was an up trend there in part 90s till 2006, so maybe we are now due for some cooling.
Note that charts indicate strong uptick of temperature during 1920s, that is matching the recent strong trend. It makes it normal for this region to shoot high quickly then cool down for decades. Recent up trend and amount of melting is nothing unusual, according to the charts. The Gulfstream is not going to vanish soon if ever.

http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2007/10/16/greenland-climate-now-vs-then-part-i-temperatures/

Neander
09-01-10, 11:36
Yesternight I slept in the open sky, it was a bit cold, but it was not winter.

I think the wether is not going to be colder or hotter, it is just destabilizing.

Maciamo
09-01-10, 11:50
Yesternight I slept in the open sky, it was a bit cold, but it was not winter.

I think the wether is not going to be colder or hotter, it is just destabilizing.

South-East Europe shouldn't feel much difference with the change in Gulf Stream. But Portugal and Spain got heavy snowfall this December; and much colder temperatures that normal for winter there (-20°C).

Marianne
09-01-10, 14:14
I was told that the temperatures during the Christmas holidays were 15-25°C here in Athens. I was abroad in North Europe during this time with -15°C. When I came back the temperature was 16°C and it felt like we had a heatwave! The difference was huge from the moment I landed in Greece.

I feel that summers become hotter and hotter every year but the winters didn't change much as far as I can recall.

^ lynx ^
11-01-10, 00:16
Amazing picture from El Pais:

http://www.elpais.com/recorte/20100107elpepuint_8/XXLCO/Ies/20100107elpepuint_8.jpg

Maciamo
11-01-10, 22:39
The Seine River froze in Paris for the first time in half a century. There is 30 cm of snow in Provence, which had never been seen before. It snowed in southern Portugal where it never snows. Something isn't normal.

LeBrok
11-01-10, 23:09
Looks similar to 1947 winter.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_of_1946%E2%80%931947_in_the_United_Kingdom

LeBrok
11-01-10, 23:53
Asia and parts of North America experience one of the coldest winters too. Cold in Europe could be explained by weakened Gulf Stream, but why so cold in Asia and NA at same time? The question is, if it's cold everywhere in North Hemisphere, where is the warm air hiding? Maybe over the Pacific?

Wilhelm
11-01-10, 23:55
Evolution in Europe (watch Great Britain ) :

http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/9281/81998011.gif



Spain :

http://img710.imageshack.us/img710/2153/dibujoutyut.png

LeBrok
12-01-10, 00:04
Interesting paper about climate in Europe.

http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/gs/

Cambrius (The Red)
12-01-10, 03:41
These things run in cycles...

LeBrok
12-01-10, 06:34
The winter began with two periods of cold weather in December 1946 and January 1947 but the coldest period did not begin until 21 January 1947. The main cause of the cold weather was an anti-cyclone (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/Anti-cyclone) which sat over Scandinavia (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/Scandinavia) from 20 January.

Thanks Wilhelm for posting the moving map. That's exactly the anti-cyclone like in 1947. The cyclones rotate clock wise in Northern Hemisphere.

Looks cyclical to me too, though nasty and scary. If people lived 1000 or 10 000 years we would have seen it all before.

Maciamo
12-01-10, 13:25
The French weather forecast explained that the cold wave was due to the the wind currents in Scandinavia being too weak this winter, so that the cold air from the Arctic passes through Scandinavia across all Western Europe.

Chris
12-01-10, 16:47
I read somewhere a year ago that monitoring stations had registered interrupted flows in the Gulf Stream. This rang alarm bells given the belief that melting ice caps and glaciers will dilute the salinity of the oceans, hence disrupt the Gulf Stream. If so, yes - welcome to Canadian-style winters. At this stage, it's speculation.

Fact: Climate change is a global, and measured in decades. Weather is what happens locally, and is measured in weeks and months. We're experiencing weather this winter, but I would love to know what the update is on the monitoring stations' data re the Gulf Stream.

Starship
18-01-10, 14:23
Well I remember the winter of 1982, at least 2 weeks off school thanks to the snow, and my Dad still goes on about the winter of 1947 (he claims part of the Irish sea froze but he's given to exaggeration). So perhaps 2040 or there abouts might be our next winter wonderland, that should give the Dublin airport authority just long enough to plan for our next 2 inches of snow and perhaps invest in a couple of snow ploughs and keep the damn airport open.
Cold winters and hot summers you recon? has to beat the perpetual rain we had last summer. :-)

Cambrius (The Red)
22-01-10, 01:04
The way things are going, we may see coconut palms growing in Finland over the next 30 years.

edao
13-02-10, 03:59
From what I have read they say that global warming would change the climate by 1-2 degrees over a 50 year period.

So I don't see how these dramtic climate fluctuations we are having this winter can be held up as being related. Most of the time the weather reports can't get their prediciotns right for the following day never mind 50 years.:grin:

Cambrius (The Red)
13-02-10, 04:03
I read somewhere a year ago that monitoring stations had registered interrupted flows in the Gulf Stream. This rang alarm bells given the belief that melting ice caps and glaciers will dilute the salinity of the oceans, hence disrupt the Gulf Stream. If so, yes - welcome to Canadian-style winters. At this stage, it's speculation.

Fact: Climate change is a global, and measured in decades. Weather is what happens locally, and is measured in weeks and months. We're experiencing weather this winter, but I would love to know what the update is on the monitoring stations' data re the Gulf Stream.


If the Gulf Stream goes, all of Atlantic Facade Europe will become another Scandinavia in terms of climate, from Portugal to Scotland.

Maciamo
13-02-10, 12:30
From what I have read they say that global warming would change the climate by 1-2 degrees over a 50 year period.

So I don't see how these dramtic climate fluctuations we are having this winter can be held up as being related. Most of the time the weather reports can't get their prediciotns right for the following day never mind 50 years.:grin:

1-2 degrees up thanks to Global Warming won't help Europe much if the Gulf Streams moves away. We could lose over 5 degrees with the G.S. and it could be quite sudden, unlike Global Warming.

Wilhelm
14-02-10, 21:17
I don't understand why people say Spain is a hot country. Certainly not in the Winter !!
We have snow every winter in half of the country. Temperatures are minus something specially in Central Spain, and Northern Spain. I would say central Spain is colder than some european countries like Belgium or Netherlands in the winter. Winters are harsh there. The Romans died from freezing in central Spain in their fight against the Celtiberians . This is in the middle of Spain in Soria :

http://img168.imageshack.us/img168/8916/soriaa.jpg

Minty
13-03-10, 02:05
Well, speaking of Global warming, it has been snowing here, and we are officially in the season of spring.

People were getting ready for spring by planting vegetables in their gardens, then big snowflakes fell from the sky in the last few days and all their veges died!:rolleyes2:

Maciamo
13-03-10, 12:18
There was 50 cm of snow at the Franco-Spanish border a few days ago. That's unseen of living memories for mid-March !

Michael Folkesson
26-04-10, 10:57
It's my impression that Canada had a very mild winter, whereas Europe had a harsh one. I read somewhere that the arctic weather tilted this way this winter, and that this happens now and then. I have no idea. I think that we have difficulties understanding both climate and weather at the moment. Gaia is very complex. This planet is not yet fully explored, and we don't really fully understand viruses, weather, the suns behavior and effects. We can't yet say exactly what is happening, and cannot predict exactly what is going to happen.

I don't dispute that we are affecting the climate. I really hope that the climate change is entirely man made. Then we can do something about it. Otherwise, we are in much deeper trouble. Risks are that all combined wars pale in comparison to what might happen to human societies across the world. The majority of the world populations might just be turned into refugees. In the footsteps of disaster across the world, migration will soar and wars will likely flame up all over the globe.

This is urgent research, and urgent for us to do something about.

But as a side note I wonder Maciamo - when you say that it would be irreversible for thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of years - would the gulf stream still be affected if there is no ice left in the arctic? No doubt, warmer global climate doesn't mean warmer weather everywhere, but if it's so warm that the polar cap melts, would we need the gulf stream to make our climate warm and Europe habitable?

Maciamo
27-04-10, 09:08
But as a side note I wonder Maciamo - when you say that it would be irreversible for thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of years - would the gulf stream still be affected if there is no ice left in the arctic? No doubt, warmer global climate doesn't mean warmer weather everywhere, but if it's so warm that the polar cap melts, would we need the gulf stream to make our climate warm and Europe habitable?

That's a good point. I don't know if the Gulf Stream would return to normal all by itself was all the ice has melted, or if it requires another event to push it back to its original course.

Hildebrand
25-05-10, 00:55
I'm not sure but I would like a cold winter to descend over Europe again because unlike the cold, there is no respite from the heat even if you are shirtless.