Northern Europe and North America get a chilly surprise


What is happening is very similar to the time 115,000 years ago, when the last glaciation started. It is difficult to comprehend, but it is really so: The last glacial was accompanied by the increase of a really averaged global mean surface temperature, alias global warming. What happened then was that the shifting sun warmed the tropics and cooled the Arctic and Antarctic. Because the tropics are so much larger than the poles, the area-weighted global mean temperature was increasing. But also increasing was the temperature difference between the oceans and the poles, the basic condition of polar ice growth. Believe it or not, the last glacial started with ‘global warming!’

George Kukla, former professor of paleoclimatology at Columbia University and researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Prepare for new Ice Age now says Top Paleoclimatologist Sciences 360, 28 March 2011

Water temperatures in the Bay of Biscay remained relatively high, whereas those in mainland Europe gradually fell. Carried northwards by wind, the humidity released by this thermal contrast appears to have caused the snowfall that formed the polar ice sheet.

Air–sea temperature decoupling in western Europe during the last interglacial–glacial transition, Nature Geoscience 6,837–841(2013)


warm sea + cold air  -> glaciation



North Atlantic sea temperature


Greenland ice mass growth

Greenland ice mass growth


In the 2004 disaster-flick “Day After Tomorrow,” abrupt man-made climate change knocks the planet into a state of utter chaos. At the time, the movie’s vision of the apocalypse wasn’t seen as realistic. But that’s begun to change. Two new studies deepen the fear that global warming could shut down the circulation of the oceans, much as the movie portrays, dropping vast stretches of Asia into drought and exposing the whole Northern Hemisphere to severe ice and snow.

Climate scientists fear ‘Day After Tomorrow’ scenario, MSNBC, 10 September 2015

Possible changes in Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) provide a key source of uncertainty regarding future climate change. Maps of temperature trends over the twentieth century show a conspicuous region of cooling in the northern Atlantic.

Exceptional twentieth-century slowdown in Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation, Nature, 23 March 2015

The resulting northerly flow of cold air provides favourable conditions for severe winters in East Asia or North America.

Two distinct influences of Arctic warming on cold winters over North America and East Asia, Nature, 31 August 2015

The Atlantic overturning circulation is declining and the AMO is moving to a negative phase. This may offer a brief respite from the persistent rise of global temperatures.

Ocean impact on decadal Atlantic climate variability revealed by sea-level observations, Nature, 27 May 2015

As the jet stream slows down it meanders more, causing weather systems to get stuck in place with a “blocking pattern” that pulls cold, Arctic air down over Europe and northern Asia for long periods at a time.

Cold winters have been caused by global warming: new research, Telegraph, 27 October 2014

The Gulf Stream that helps to keep Britain from freezing over in winter is slowing down faster now than at any time in the past millennium according to a study suggesting that major changes are taking place to the ocean currents of the North Atlantic.

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say, Independent, 23 March 2015

Greenland’s melting glaciers have the power to change Britain’s climate because of the way they can interfere with the Gulf Stream of the North Atlantic, which keeps winters relatively mild.

Scientists have found the first hard evidence to show that this actually happened 8,200 years ago, when the climate in parts of the northern hemisphere cooled dramatically after a period of global warming.

Global warming may lead to colder winters in Britain, Independent, 30 June 2006

There may well be cooling times ahead of us (The solar wind is 13% cooler and 20% less dense, NASA, 23 September 2008; Sun Headed Into Hibernation, Solar Studies Predict, National Geographic, 14 giugno 2011; Solheim et al., The long sunspot cycle 23 predicts a significant temperature decrease in cycle 24, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Volume 80, May 2012, Pages 267–284; Global warming pause ‘may last for another decade’, scientists suggest, Telegraph, 21 August 2014; IPCC report: Britain could cool if Gulf Stream slows, Telegraph, 26 September 2013; Observed decline of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation 2004–2012, Ocean Science, 06 February 2014; Solar activity heads for lowest low in four centuries, New Scientist, 1 November 2013; Real risk of a Maunder minimum ‘Little Ice Age’ says leading scientist, BBC, 28 October 2013; Is our Sun falling silent?, BBC, 18 January 2014; Volcanic aerosols, not pollutants, tamped down recent Earth warming, ScienceDaily, 1 March 2013; Sun-kissed sulphur reveals volcanic effects on climate, Science Nordic, 14 February 2013; Des poussières volcaniques islandaises polluent le nord de la France, Le Figaro, 26 September 2014; Study Finds Earth’s Ocean Abyss Has Not Warmed, NASA Science News, 6 October 2014; A global temperature conundrum: Cooling or warming climate?, Science Daily, 11 August 2014; Arctic Ice Melt Seen Doubling Risk of Harsh Winter in EU, Bloomberg, 27 October 2014).

Northern Europe and the coming climate refugees crisis, FuturAbles, 13 October 2014

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