Over the last few days Central Europe has been enjoying almost summerlike temperatures as a weather system is drawing warm air from Mediterranean to the south. But this of course is a temprrfary weather situation and things will soon be cooling off.
There have been a number of signs pointing to another cold winter, and meteorologist Jung today points to yet another: a disrupted Gulf Stream.
The Gulf Stream is a powerful, warm Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida and pumps warm water along the eastern coastlines of the North America and across the Atlantic over to Europe, thus keeping the north of the old continent relatively warmer in the wintertime.
Jung shows two charts of the Gulf Stream, which I’ve placed side-by-side. The left one from 14 October 2012 and the right one a year later from 14 October 2013.
Gulf Stream: left 212, right 2013. Source: DEOS, TU Delft
Jung describes the charts as follows:
One year ago off the coast of North America there was a strong continuous current which one could describe as quite healthy. From Florida and along the entire coast of North America the current speed was more or less uniformly high.
But compared to 2012 this year’s Gulf Stream shows a considerably disrupted flow. Already at the coast of North America the speed breaks down considerably compared to last year (see red arrow). At some places the speed is down to one half.”
So could this have an impact on Europe’s coming winter? Jung thinks this is a real possibility. He continues:
For now it is not clear what exactly the origin of the flow speed anomaly is. Of course the Gulf Stream remains intact and is not interrupted – an interruption would undoubtedly be fatal for our climate [in Europe]. In any case the flow has reduced considerably and thus the transport of heat to Europe has been considerably throttled, and that right before the coming start of winter. Never over the last 5 years has the Gulf Stream along North America been so weak as it is at this time of the year.
That could be another sign for an unusually colder than normal winter.”
It would be interesting to see what other meteorologists have to say on this.