Posted by Ken on June 02, 1998 at 07:36:55:
In response to Weather, written by John W on June 01, 1998 at 15:46:27
] For the West Coast of Europe the effects could be quicker than the general rise in level. We owe our relatively mild climate to the warm water of the Gulf Stream, which gives us warmer wetter weather than our logditude would indicate. The increased calving rate of bergs caused by higher temperatures could send masses of ice South to disrupt this system. There is nothing simple about the effects of global warming!
To be precise, the Gulf stream gives up its heat to the air in the mid-Atlantic, and that warm, wet air is what drives your climate.
I haven't seen this listed as a potential side effect anywhere; the Gulf stream is such a massive flow of water, with so many loops and eddies, that I find it difficult to believe any number of icebergs could shut it down. Surely you'd need something like a collapse of the entire Arctic sheet to do that, similar to the rapid glacial collapse during the Younger Dryas (think that's right--paleo-climatology isn't my strong suit (-: )
But it is true that climate models usually indicate that some climates would get colder during the initial stages of global warming--the weather in general would get more extreme. So icebergs or no, Europe might start out getting more, well, Austen-like before it began to resemble Georgia (-:
On the other hand, the American wheat belt would begin to distinctly resemble the Sahara. . . .
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