The Gulf Stream is a global weather machine that helps budget heat on the planet.
It moves warm water up the United States East Coast to the North Atlantic, there it releases heat into the atmosphere, giving Europe and mid-latitudes a milder climate.
The Gulf Stream is 90 miles off our coast and we call it the “Florida Current.”
Locally, it keeps us warmer in the Winter and cooler in the Summer.
Over the recent decades, scientists have confirmed that the Gulf Stream has been slowing.
“The length of time we have these observations are relatively short, so we don’t yet have the full picture of what is happening,” NOAA Scientist Dr. Renellys Perez said.
The Gulf Stream can vary on short time scales and it is natural, but it is likely to weaken because of global warming.
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If it continues to weaken, it can lead to a potentially colder climate in Europe, sea level rise, and a potential build up of heat near Florida.
“When you have a weak or slow Gulf Stream, you can cause heat to pile up in the tropical north Atlantic off the coast of Florida, which can provide a reservoir of heat or fuel for hurricanes,” Perez said.
The Gulf Stream can affect the path and strength of hurricanes, so it is important to monitor ocean temperatures to improve hurricane track and intensity forecasts.
Cox Media Group