Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How Arctic Hurricanes Help Warm Europe

An Arctic hurricane (or polar low) northeast of Scandinavia, with a characteristic eye and counter-clockwise swirl of clouds. They grey area in the upper left-hand corner is sea ice.

 

Santa better have hurricane insurance.

Every year, there are thousands of cyclones in the Arctic, some with hurricane-force winds. Before satellites spotted these storms, sailors would return from the North with tales of massive squalls appearing out of nowhere, creating waves up to 36 feet (11 meters) high.

A new study published online this week in the journal Nature Geoscience has found that these storms transport a significant amount of heat from the tropics to the Arctic and help power the Gulf Stream, the ocean current that shuttles warm water northeast from the Caribbean toward Europe. The Gulf Stream keeps the continent warmer than it would otherwise be, said Alan Condron, study co-author and oceanographer at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. 

For the rest of the story: http://www.livescience.com/25620-arctic-hurricanes-climate-impact.html

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