From Pine View Farm

Climate Change and the Gulf Stream? 0

The Philadelphia Inquirer starts a three-part series on the Gulf Stream today.

The first installment is fascinating and has me looking forward to the rest:

Hundreds of miles from any land, the waters of the North Atlantic suddenly developed an oddly deep-blue hue and turned incongruously warm.

Patches of peculiar brown seaweed rode the surface, and the ocean brewed mild, damp winds that the muscular 20-year-old could feel on his skin.

To the sailor, Benjamin Franklin, it was a puzzle, one that would baffle and bedevil him for decades.

It would take him 40 years to figure out what he had encountered back in 1726. He had crossed a moving, meandering mass of warm water, 300 times stronger than the flow of all the rivers emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. It was a force more powerful than a million nuclear plants.

Franklin would call it “the Gulf Stream,” following the lead of generations of whalers.


Today, on the eve of the 300th anniversary of Franklin’s birth, scientists worry that the world is crossing yet another climate divide. They see disturbing evidence of change. All of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1990; after Katrina set new standards for devastation, the hurricane season that ended 19 days ago went on to exhaust the alphabet; water temperatures in the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico have been near record highs; Arctic ice is melting at alarming rates.

(Aside: I dislike statements that start with “scientists/experts/professionals say.” It implies a level of agreement among scientists/experts/professionals that may not exist and begs for elaboration. Later on in the story, the Inky does identify the scientists who figure in their coverage.)


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