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December 06, 2003

Snow in the city

I guess one thing to be thankful for in these damp islands is that we have the Gulf Stream keeping us a little too warm for snow to settle and last any length of time. OK, so every now and then we get a big freeze and the whole place grinds to a halt because our trains, roads and all forms of transport are not designed to cope with it.

I read with some amusement Squip's item "Weather or not". It sort of blew out my probably optimistic notion that the good ol' US of A had these things better sorted out than we did. I guess not, but it sounds as if there may be one or two good reasons for battening down the hatches, breaking out the Whiskey (No, I haven't misspelled it! That's the right sort to drink! Mine's a single malt, thank you. No ice and hold the water.), putting the feet up and reading a good book while appreciating the central heating inside one's own home. Like my cat, I am reluctant to venture out in this sort of weather.

That said, the good news according to a programme on Channel 4 recently and on Discovery Science a while back and articles in the New Scientist among other eminent journals is that the mechanism which supports the Gulf Stream could be about to shut down. No Gulf Stream means no flow of warm (or warmish!) water from the tropics to the frozen North. Apparently it can happen suddenly and has done so in the past - most notably about 50,000 years ago.

Get the picture?

Yep, break out the igloo making materials, the sable fur clothes and learn to make walrus, seal and killer whale pie. It could get cold for a longish period.

Or not, as the case may be. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Posted by The Gray Monk at December 6, 2003 11:49 PM