22 September 2010, 14:13

This year's winter may be the harshest - Polish climatologists

This year's winter may be the harshest - Polish climatologists
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According to Polish climatologists, the Gulfstream- the Atlantic warm current, which protects Europe against the Arctic cold, is cooling fast. It might even disappear completely, they warn. Russian meteorologists disagree with the pessimism of their Polish counterparts, agreeing though that the speed of the Gulfstream has indeed been reduced two-fold for several years.

According to Polish climatologists, the Gulfstream- the Atlantic warm current, which protects Europe against the Arctic cold, is cooling fast. It might even disappear completely, they warn.

Russian meteorologists disagree with the pessimism of their Polish counterparts, agreeing though that the speed of the Gulfstream has indeed been reduced two-fold for several years. The Scandinavian countries are already feeling the breathing of the Arctic.

The Polish climatologist, Mikhail Kovalevski believes that if the trend continues, the climatic zones will move North and Europe will become a permafrost area for ever. But after looking at satellite pictures, NASA officials say that the global warming of the past 18 years has made the Gulfstream stronger and warmer. Russian meteorologists however hold the middle ground, Alexander Frolov, head of the Russian Meteorological Agency says.

The Gulfstream is powerful and is not declining; it warms up Europe, and consequently, it  has a high significance for both Poland and the  Scandinavian nations. But access to the heat might be restricted by the thawing of the ice and the turning of the water fresh - that is cold fresh water may appear on the surface, preventing the heat from going into the atmosphere to have an impact on the climate. We  do not  overestimate such a phenomenon, Frolov says.

He agrees that the Arctic ice is thawing fast, and according to the specialists, the area of the ice is now 4.8 million kilometers-600 thousand kilometers less than in 2007. said Frolov.  That is the third minimum area of ice ever recorded since the beginning of meteorological observation. The Arctic  is indeed very  warn at the  moment, particularly the western part, Frolov  says.

But despite the warning in the North Pole, winter will set in, and according to the preliminary forecast by Russian weathermen, the country will have a normal Russian winter, perhaps not as harsh as last year, Frolov  says.

January will be the coldest and February will produce a mixture of weather, he said. He promised Russians a two-week frost in many regions of the country-most likely in the northern parts.        

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