Geography Oceanography, and Weather

Ocean Currents

How does the Gulf Stream affect the weather of the British Isles and Scandinavia?

The Gulf Stream currents move warm water in the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean Sea northeast to northern Europe and the British Isles. The current flows in this manner because currents heading west from the south Atlantic run into Central America. If North and South America were not connected by this relatively thin strip of land, the current would continue to flow westward and none of the warmer waters would reach Europe. Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, and the Scandinavian countries would have climates more closely resembling Greenland’s. When you look at a world map, you will notice that England, for instance, is at a latitude north of Newfoundland. Logically, it should be a lot colder there than it is, but thanks to the Gulf Stream, England has a climate more like that of New York City than northern Canada. Indeed, mainland Europe is warmer than North America because the Gulf Stream brings warmer weather with it.


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