The Gulf Stream is an ocean circulation that transports warm water along the east coasts of the United States and Canada and then to western Europe. It is one of the most important factors controlling the climate of Europe.
The stream originates in the Gulf of Mexico and flows along the Atlantic coast, getting warmer as it goes. It reaches the British Isles in around 10 days and flows on towards Scandinavia. As it does so, it spreads out into a large area of low pressure which helps to prevent cold outbreaks from crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
This source region for the Gulf Stream is almost completely controlled by the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. If there is less water vapor, then it will be hot outside and we need more heat transported to Europe; if there is more water vapor, then it will be cool outside and we need less heat transported to Europe. The reason for this is that the wind can only blow away water vapor, not heat energy!
The direction of the wind affects how much moisture is blown across the Atlantic Ocean. If the wind blows from the south or southeast, more water vapor is brought over than if it comes from other directions. It is estimated that about 70% of the flow of the Gulf Stream comes from water vapor in the atmosphere.
The warm Gulf Stream flows from southwest to northeast, carrying heat from the Gulf of Mexico to western Europe. As a result, this region of the earth is warmer than others where the latitudes are comparable but the currents are "neutral." One explanation is the Gulf Stream. The current that forms in the gulf between Florida and Cuba carries heat with it, which makes the water around Europe also hot.
Another cause for southern Europe's warmth is the effect of altitude. At high altitudes, there is less precipitation and more direct sunlight causing temperatures to rise faster. This is why mountains often have very cold climates while valleys usually have milder conditions. In addition, deserts can be found in both low and high areas, so geography plays a role in determining climate as well.
Finally, there is the issue of ocean currents vs. land masses. Because continents block out much of the sun's energy, they tend to keep temperatures relatively constant no matter what the location. Ocean currents, on the other other hand, follow the path of least resistance and will flow toward regions of lower pressure (in this case, deeper waters).
The Impact of the Gulf Stream on Global Climate Let's take the Gulf Stream as an example; Figure 14.15 depicts the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Gulf Stream is an ocean stream that brings warm water from the equator to Europe via the east coast of North America. It is one of the most important factors regulating the climate and environment of Europe. The Gulf Stream affects many parts of life on Earth, including animals, plants, and people. It can have beneficial effects by providing a comfortable climate or harmful effects by bringing warm waters which may cause sea storms or floods.
The Gulf Stream is made up of two currents: the surface current and the deep current. The surface current is made up of strong winds that blow across the ocean surface causing clouds to form which then release their heat into the atmosphere. This is called evaporative cooling. As the air becomes cooler it rises producing the wind known as the trade wind. These winds are strongest in the middle of the night when there are no clouds in the sky and travel in a west-east direction along the subtropics.
As the name suggests, the deep current flows under the ocean surface from south to north. It is made up of water that has been transported from far away places such as South America and Africa and is now flowing back out to the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, the deep current is the only current in the world that flows in both directions between oceans.
The Gulf Stream The Gulf Stream transports warm water from the Gulf of Mexico north into the Atlantic to replace the cold equatorial water. The Gulf Stream, which transports warmth to the UK and north-west Europe, is responsible for our mild winters. It starts in the Gulf of Mexico, flows across the Yucatán Channel into the Caribbean Sea, and then crosses the Atlantic Ocean to reach Europe.
The ocean heats up at its surface because direct sunlight causes air to heat up and rise, causing clouds to form and release their energy as radiation back to Earth. As the clouds drift east toward Asia they act as a blanket to block out most of the sun's rays, which reduces the amount of heat reaching the earth's surface. When the clouds reach Hawaii they start to lose their heat to the atmosphere and begin to cool down. This process leads to thermal tides in the ocean that can be hundreds of miles wide.
Ocean waters contain large amounts of ice that influence Earth's temperature balance. The weight of the ice in the ocean presses against the underlying land, creating an effect similar to that of a giant cushion. The ice melts in the summer and fall when the heat comes from below, but is refrozen in the winter when the heat comes from above.