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Could The Cold Blob Cause Net Emigration And Falling House Prices In The Uk?

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This is a potential Black (or snow white) Swan for the UK, Paris and Amsterdam. I can remember a long time ago learning about how the Greenland glacial, and Russian Tundra melts could slow or even shut down the Gulf Stream. This happens relatively frequently in geological terms through cyclical warming, about every few hundred to a few thousand years and can last anything from a few years to a few hundred years. It doesn't cause a global ice age, but does cause a significant cooling of the climate in North West Europe, particularly the UK, Normandy, Norway, Holland, Denmark, Western France and Portugal, all of which have climates dominated by the effect of the Atlantic. The cooling effect is almost immediate (takes about 6-9 months for the NOrth Atlantic to loose all the heating caused by the Gulf Stream), which results in anything from a 2 - 5 degree drop in temps in places like the UK. Global warming is not fast enough to counter that here.

The results could be very severe to catastrophic for the UK economy. Where I live in Barrie Canada, if we get 18 inches of snow overnight, the roads are clear by 9.00am...as you all know, if you get an inch of the stuff in the UK, the place grinds to a halt. I lived in Brighton most of my life, and we got a good snow storm once every 5-10 years. If this cooling occurs, the UK would see a dramatic increase in snowfall, and ice storms. Newfoundland, which is slightly further south of the UK, and is on the other Atlantic coast, gets around 3 meters a year, but with lots of mild interludes and thaws. Canada has invested billions upon billions over the decades in snow clearing equipment. I have my own snow blower, as do many Canadians, but you can't build that infrastructure overnight. In my view this could cause total chaos in the UK, and bring on a very severe economic downturn, and possibly cause some companies to relocate headquarters into central Europe if it lasted a couple of years with no known end (the North Atlantic would need to get saltier again, which eventually happens though glacial formation). It may also significantly reduce the "pull" factor for migrants and increase the "push" factors for potential emigrants like myself.

http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/north-atlantic-cold-blob-could-affect-gulf-stream-weather-europe-eastern-us/52869594

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That's definitely one way of keeping warm. I disagree otherwise though. Britain is not even remotely set up for a sudden change in climate that the Blob could precipitate. Heating bills would go through the roof in winter months, cities could be paralyzed for days on end, the grid could potentially have outages, remote areas would need military assistance. One winter would be OK, although it could 0.5% of GDP, but repeated winters would not be fine. It's not like the day after tomorrow, but this is certainly something has happened frequently in the past, and obviously the country is not prepared for.

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An interesting subject. The truth is the "experts" can't predict with certainty what will happen in the next 24 hours, so we have to assume that all things are possible when talking about our climate.

I'm old enough to remember living in homes without central heating - this was far from an exception and indeed I knew many people who didn't yet have an indoors loo. Somehow we survived the long cold days of winter - but society was set up differently then. Schoolkids were expected to walk to school, workers had a long shift in the factory and then at night you'd sit in front of the coal fire watching Nationwide or other drivel... I seem to remember the biggest problem was freezing pipes in cold winters, but yes transport in the UK would be hit hard by snowy conditions. If the central heating stopped working or became erratic (power cuts?) I suspect people would rediscover the hot water bottle. At least we have duvets/quilts now which are great in winter.

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Come to think of it, not sure how much difference it would make. This past winter here we had a second year with the fricking polar vortex. Our normal Feb mean max is -2, this year is it was -10...the average highest temp was -10...we survived, so I guess you lot will if it's a bit nippier than normal.

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Guest eight

Our normal Feb mean max is -2, this year is it was -10...the average highest temp was -10...

Doubtless this is being held up by somebody, somewhere as irrefutable proof of global warming.

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there's a decent piece on the "blob" here from earlier in the year, by a proper scientist

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/03/whats-going-on-in-the-north-atlantic/

It's a bit different to the the catastrophic Lake Agassiz outburst flood that is thought to have caused the Ice readvance across UK at the end of the last Ice Age.

It could get a bit stormier though.

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there's a decent piece on the "blob" here from earlier in the year, by a proper scientist

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/03/whats-going-on-in-the-north-atlantic/

It's a bit different to the the catastrophic Lake Agassiz outburst flood that is thought to have caused the Ice readvance across UK at the end of the last Ice Age.

It could get a bit stormier though.

Interesting that the blob was present last year and yet the UK had a very mild winter. I think the biggest danger though is if the current completely shuts down. That would have global implications, but impossible to say exactly what. These climate models are a bit ropey to say the least.

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It completely shutting down is extremely unlikely, meltwater levels from greenland aren't anything like the volume of freshwater from Lake Agassiz. the climate models predicted the current situation with warm anomalies everywhere else, and a cold anomaly in the middle of the North Atlantic, its not a great leap of faith then to use them as a guide.

Which climate models are "ropey"?

Edited by WSG

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Guest eight

It completely shutting down is extremely unlikely, meltwater levels from greenland aren't anything like the volume of freshwater from Lake Agassiz. the climate models predicted the current situation with warm anomalies everywhere else, and a cold anomaly in the middle of the North Atlantic, its not a great leap of faith then to use them as a guide.

Which climate models are "ropey"?

How can something that was correctly predicted be an anomaly? And what is it anomalous to?

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anomalous to your baseline climate.(generally the average temperatures over a 30 year reference period)

So a warm anomaly would be temperatures are warmer than average climate over the baseline climate, similarly a cold anomaly would be coolernthan baseline climate.

Edited by WSG

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I'm old enough to remember living in homes without central heating - this was far from an exception and indeed I knew many people who didn't yet have an indoors loo. Somehow we survived the long cold days of winter - but society was set up differently then. Schoolkids were expected to walk to school, workers had a long shift in the factory and then at night you'd sit in front of the coal fire watching Nationwide or other drivel... I seem to remember the biggest problem was freezing pipes in cold winters, but yes transport in the UK would be hit hard by snowy conditions. If the central heating stopped working or became erratic (power cuts?) I suspect people would rediscover the hot water bottle.

Sounds like our house. Central heating is for folk who don't have Long Johns.

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anomalous to your baseline climate.(generally the average temperatures over a 30 year reference period)

So a warm anomaly would be temperatures are warmer than average climate over the baseline climate, similarly a cold anomaly would be coolernthan baseline climate.

But what in reality is baseline as it is constantly changing. Many models have different outcomes, and changing just one variable, or placing different emphasis on another, can create wildly different scenarios. Many models in the late 90s were predicting armageddon by now, but as we all know any changes recently in overall earth temperature have been very small. The fact that weather forecasts more than 10 days out are incredibly innacurate and seasonal forecasts are not really much better than 50:50 shows that the whole area has a lot further to go.

To me though, it does make sense that if there is significant cooling of the North Atlantic this could have a severe impact on the UK climate short term and lead to economic disruption.

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SO we're reduced to hoping for some random climatic event to see house prices fall ?

FWIW, I don't the UK would have any issues whatsoever in ramping up for dealing with snow. The fact that we can't deal with it that well at the moment is no indication of how fast we could buy a load of diggers and trucks with snowploughs to deal with it.

I seem to remember a few years ago, maybe 2009-2012 we had some harsher than usual winters. The first one was, as expected, chaos. running out of grit, roads blocked etc. Then the next one was fine, because the councils stockpiled a huge pile of grit. Even heathrow invested in a load of runway clearing equipment, which has probably now been idle for a few years.

Let's say a snow plough truck /gritter costs £100000 to buy. For a 100 million quid you could buy 1000 of them. That's an army that can clear loads of roads, for less than the price of two eurofighters. Yes, you couldn't do it instantly, but you could do it on a 1 year timescale.

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What models in the 1990 s were predicting armegeddon by 2015?

Most climate models have very very similar results all the way back to the 19th Century. ThIs similarity is one thing that gives us high confidence in their outputs.

Don't confuse weather forecasts with climate modelling. Weather forecasts are far more sensitive to initial conditions, so errors in initial condition propogate fast. Weather forecasts are like trying to predict what number will be thrown by the dice next. Climate modelling is more like trying to Judge whether or not a dice is weighted, then predicting the long run mean of all the throws. A different problem, not nearly as dependent on initial condition errors.

Btw 10 day forecasts are incredibly inaccurate? ..... Well I reckon in 10 days time our weather pattern in Uk will still be pretty much under the influence of the big old high pressure area that's currently sitting over us..it won't have gone far. Under some circumstances it is very easy to predict some aspects of the weather 10/15/20 days out.

Take your head out of your **** and learn about something before you start criticising it.

Edited by WSG

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What models in the 1990 s were predicting armegeddon by 2015?

Most climate models have very very similar results all the way back to the 19th Century. ThIs similarity is one thing that gives us high confidence in their outputs.

Don't confuse weather forecasts with climate modelling. Weather forecasts are far more sensitive to initial conditions, so errors in initial condition propogate fast. Weather forecasts are like trying to predict what number will be thrown by the dice next. Climate modelling is more like trying to Judge whether or not a dice is weighted, then predicting the long run mean of all the throws. A different problem, not nearly as dependent on initial condition errors.

Btw 10 day forecasts are incredibly inaccurate? ..... Well I reckon in 10 days time our weather pattern in Uk will still be pretty much under the influence of the big old high pressure area that's currently sitting over us..it won't have gone far. Under some circumstances it is very easy to predict some aspects of the weather 10/15/20 days out.

Take your head out of your **** and learn about something before you start criticising it.

10 day weather forecasts are very inaccurate.

Of course a big high pressure helps matters - but they are still generally pretty poor.

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yes they are less accurate much of the time than shorter range forecasts, but that doesnt mean you cant get good info or make decisons on the basis of them.

For example given the initial conditions are the overriding problem then rerunning weather forecast models with initial conditions that are randomly different for some parameters will give you a good indication of just how sensitive in a particular situation the model is to initial conditions. This is called ensemble forecasting - it may not be able to tell you if it will rain in 10 days time in Newcastle, but it may be able to tell you if you will be likley to be able to safely tow a 20million dollar oil platform across the North Sea from Invergordon to Rotterdam.

cliches like "they cant tell us what the weather will be like tomorrow so climate models are crap" is just lazy, utterly ignorant prejuidice with no understanding whatsoever of any of the concepts involved in either subject.

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Let's say a snow plough truck /gritter costs £100000 to buy. For a 100 million quid you could buy 1000 of them. That's an army that can clear loads of roads, for less than the price of two eurofighters. Yes, you couldn't do it instantly, but you could do it on a 1 year timescale.

You might even be able to buy them second hand from the North-eastern USA / Canada - the models suggest they wouldn't need them so much.

Perhaps even do a swap with some - oh wait, I can't think of anything that they'd want from us...

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cliches like "they cant tell us what the weather will be like tomorrow so climate models are crap" is just lazy, utterly ignorant prejuidice with no understanding whatsoever of any of the concepts involved in either subject.

That's as maybe, but the old axiom "garbage in garbage out" still applies to any computer model. Many assumptions must be made in devising these models and that must always be borne in mind before placing too much credence in the results. There are an almost infinite number of factors involved in the behaviour of our climate, our success in modelling it will be determined over many future decades of observable results.

Consensus science would have you believe water is essential for life on other planets. I would prefer to keep an open mind.

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