Gulf Stream

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 4th February 2004.

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Photo of Peter Ainsworth Peter Ainsworth Conservative, East Surrey

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research she has assessed on the impact of global warming on the Gulf Stream; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Minister of State (Environment and Agri-Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

holding answer 2 February 2004

The responses of the Gulf Stream and other component: of the North Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation are being investigated in a major joint research programme by CEFAS and by the RAPID programme of the Natural Environment Research Council, working with Dutch, Norwegian and US Research Councils. This issue is also being investigated by the Hadley Centre, funded by Department, in collaboration with the RAPID programme.

Under future climate change scenarios due to increased levels of greenhouse gases the Gulf Stream is predicted to weaken. Climate models do not, however, predict that the Gulf Stream will shut down. Consequently the UK and Western Europe are still predicted to warm by several degrees over the next century.

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