A new study found a slowdown of the Gulf Stream due to man-made global warming may actually be a good thing for Europe considering what could happen to other parts of the world.
The study by University of Sussex, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and the University of California, Berkeley found that instead of getting colder from a slowed Gulf Stream, Europe would see a slowed rate of warming as compared to the rest of the world. The story was published in the journal American Economic Review.
“Cooling is probably a good bit more harmful than warming, particularly in Europe,” Richard Tol, an environmental economist and co-author of the study, said in a statement.
“People rightly fear that climate change would cause a new ice age,” Tol said
The Gulf Stream encompasses the Florida current and the North Atlantic Current, which helps keep Europe warmer than it normally would be at that latitude by funneling the warm Gulf air Europe’s way. Weather Online estimates that without the Gulf Streams warming air, the British Isles would be colder by nine degrees Fahrenheit.
But that potential warming could be bad news for other countries, as oceans redistribute heat around the world.
The study runs counter to other scientists who say a slowdown of the Gulf Stream could lead to colder temperatures. Tol said this is good news because cold is more dangerous to humans than heat.
Tol is right — cold is more harmful than heat. A study done in 2015, published by the British journal The Lancet, found that cold kills 20 times more people than heat.
“Public-health policies focus almost exclusively on minimizing the health consequences of heat waves,” Antonio Gasparrini, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and lead author of the study told USA Today in 2015. “Our findings suggest that these measures need to be refocused and extended to take account of a whole range of effects associated with temperature.”
Tol goes on to say how the lack of cooling would be beneficial to Europe. “Fortunately, our study finds no cooling at all. Instead, we find slower warming: a boon for Europeans.”
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