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Old 07-03-2020, 05:37 PM
 
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I browse Reddit a lot and whenever I see posts about European weather a lot of people bring up the gulf stream and how it gives NW Europe it's mild temps which is true of course but I wonder how much impact it has? Being on the west coast of a continent with a big body of water next door also is a huge factor. Locations on the west coast of NA are also very mild. Looking at locations of similar latitude in North America compared to Europe it's obvious NA is colder but are there more factors at play here apart from the gulf stream and obvious things such as altitude etc?
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Old 07-03-2020, 08:25 PM
Status: "Finally in subtropical Fort Worth Texas for a whole month" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: In climate zone Cfa/hardiness zone 8a /zip code 76131
3,700 posts, read 2,392,923 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffydelusions View Post
I browse Reddit a lot and whenever I see posts about European weather a lot of people bring up the gulf stream and how it gives NW Europe it's mild temps which is true of course but I wonder how much impact it has? Being on the west coast of a continent with a big body of water next door also is a huge factor. Locations on the west coast of NA are also very mild. Looking at locations of similar latitude in North America compared to Europe it's obvious NA is colder but are there more factors at play here apart from the gulf stream and obvious things such as altitude etc?
Agreed on all points. Also there are very few or maybe no analog climates equivalent to the Midwestern United States.
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Old 07-03-2020, 11:04 PM
Status: "star trek fan" (set 11 days ago)
 
Location: Etobicoke
50 posts, read 11,241 times
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Isles of Scilly may be the northernmost location where palms can easily grow without protection.
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Old 07-04-2020, 02:02 AM
 
Location: Durham, UK
92 posts, read 19,692 times
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Much of North Western Europe is surrounded by ocean to its north and west which is a moderating influence in itself. This makes it harder for cold air from the Arctic to find its way down here, hence why our winters are much warmer than anywhere else for the latitude.

If you compare to the NW of USA/Canada, there is still a big land mass to the north so that cold Arctic air can dive down and bring freezing temps to those places regularly.

It’s very uncommon for us to have days where the high temperature goes below freezing, even here on the NE coast of the UK which is one of the colder places in the UK. The only time this happens is when an area of high pressure forms over the North Sea and starts drawing in cold air from the continent. Usually, we are subject to constant barrages of low pressure which brings cloudy, wet and mild weather from the Atlantic.
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Old 07-04-2020, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
1,724 posts, read 640,909 times
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NW Europe has the Gulf stream, while the West Coast has the North Pacific and California currents which bring in cooler waters. In Europe theres beach resorts at 53N. On the West Coast thats halfway between Vancouver and Juneau AK. Not gonna see masses flock to the beach there.
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Old 07-04-2020, 08:20 AM
 
Location: ATL -> HOU -> DAL -> ATL
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I wish I could remember more of oceanography classes. I seem to remember a lot of discussion about how the Gulf Stream itself technically doesn't go all the way to Europe. At some point (I think it's the dynamics) it changes into the North Atlantic Current.

According to a page from Columbia University, the effects of the Gulf Stream are far overstated. It's actually something my atmo dynamics prof had mentioned. That consistent ridging in the atmosphere over western parts of the continent (Europe and NA) is largely responsible.

There's not a lot to compare to the north but Vancouver and London are within just a couple degrees of latitude and have very, very similar climates (compared to eastern Canada/US).
In the southern hemisphere, Puerto Montt has warmer lows in winter than Atlanta and just slightly lower highs. All while being 6 degrees farther from the equator. Certainly no Gulf Stream there.
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Old 07-04-2020, 08:30 AM
 
Location: ATL -> HOU -> DAL -> ATL
4,788 posts, read 3,992,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibratre12 View Post
Much of North Western Europe is surrounded by ocean to its north and west which is a moderating influence in itself. This makes it harder for cold air from the Arctic to find its way down here, hence why our winters are much warmer than anywhere else for the latitude.

If you compare to the NW of USA/Canada, there is still a big land mass to the north so that cold Arctic air can dive down and bring freezing temps to those places regularly.

And this is the big thing. If it were all about water temp, why would Wilmington NC be more susceptible to cold snaps than Dublin when the Gulf Stream goes right past? I'm pretty sure Wilmington has warmer sea temps than Dublin any time of year.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Veritas Vincit View Post
NW Europe has the Gulf stream, while the West Coast has the North Pacific and California currents which bring in cooler waters. In Europe theres beach resorts at 53N. On the West Coast thats halfway between Vancouver and Juneau AK. Not gonna see masses flock to the beach there.
Have you seen the land between AK and Vancouver? It's incredibly mountainous. Plus that water in the British Isles isn't exactly warm anyway. Water temp is still down around 60-65 f in the summer.
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Old 07-04-2020, 10:39 AM
Status: "Finally in subtropical Fort Worth Texas for a whole month" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: In climate zone Cfa/hardiness zone 8a /zip code 76131
3,700 posts, read 2,392,923 times
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I would say that the Gulf Stream makes Western Europe’s climate considerably milder than it would otherwise be without the Gulf Stream’s influences.
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Old 07-04-2020, 10:41 AM
 
Location: St Paul's Bay, Malta
12,128 posts, read 6,987,458 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancerman View Post
Isles of Scilly may be the northernmost location where palms can easily grow without protection.
Nope. Palms can grow unprotected even in northern England & up into Scotland too.
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Old 07-04-2020, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
912 posts, read 798,952 times
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Two main causes and in this order:

1) Location relative to the Atmospheric circulation / continental masses
2) Gulf Stream

So at equivalent latitudes, Western Europe is warmer than the Pacific Northwest, Southern Chile and New Zealand due to the Gulf Stream. However, it is milder than Eastern North America and Asia due to its location relative to the general atmospheric circulation and continental masses. The common error is attributing to the Gulf Stream its milder/warmer conditions respect to Eastern NA and Asia, when in this case there is a more basal major forcing.
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