(Warning: geeky science post ahead)
A few years ago, I was in the UK and caught a program discussing Global Warming and the Gulf stream. In a nut shell, the world’s oceans have a current, or motion called Thermohaline circulation, where based on the temperature and saltiness of sea water, the waters move in a predictable way and help drive weather patterns across the globe.
There’s a thought that as polar ice melts, there’s going to be an influx of fresh water into the oceans, disrupting both the temperature and salinity of the oceans, and possibly shutting down this flow. This would mean the water that warms up at the Equator, and through the Gulf Stream, keeps places like England relatively temperate would instead lead to more extreme weather, both hot and cold, across Europe and North America. So could our current rough winter, the snowiest in recent record here in Philly, be a sign of Global Warming rather than disproving its existence?
When I hear news clips of Harry Reid and others mocking Al Gore, saying this tough winter disproves Global warming, I think back to that report on the circulation of the oceans, changes in salinity, and the increase in what seems to be extreme weather over time, and it’s hard not to think that Hotter summers and colder winters, with greater snow totals could very well be part of a collapse of the thermohaline circulation or Northeastern Conveyor, and maybe the politicians shouldn’t be so glib and maybe they should read a little more instead.