The once-mighty ocean current responsible for the relatively mild climate of northern Europe is becoming slower and weaker. The drop-off appears to be the most dramatic in a millennium, and probably even longer than that. The consequences could see some regions experience bitterly colder winters even as the world warms.
Northern Europeans might sometimes crave a little global warming in winter, but they should be careful what they wish for. The reason lies in the global thermohaline circulation, also known as the great conveyor belt. These ocean currents move vast quantities of heat around the planet. If you think this doesn’t matter, consider that London is closer to the North Pole than St. John’s, Newfoundland, where temperatures seldom get above zero in January and February.