Recent observations have shown that since 1950 there has been a decrease of 20% in the flow of cold water in the Faeroe Bank channel between Greenland and Scotland. This is one source of cold dense water that drives the density-based component of the gulf stream. There may be an increase in flow from other cold water sources, but, if not, it could be the start of the slow down of the gulf stream.
As the gulf stream becomes weaker, it may become less stable and therefore be more likely to shut down completely in the future.
Implications A reduced gulf stream would mean that less heat is brought to north-west Europe and therefore harsher winters. However, current climate model predictions are confident that the increase in temperatures resulting from an increase in greenhouse gas emissions is much greater than the potential cooling effect, so a cooling of the UK climate is unlikely this century.
In the UK, the effect of sea level rises goes hand in hand with the land movements being experienced across the country. Therefore sea level rises could be different around the coast. Much of southern Britain is sinking and in northern areas the opposite is happening. This compounded with the sea level rises increases the risk of flooding and coastal erosion, particularly in the south and east of England.
Summer in Europe in August 2002. We would usually associate the last month of summer with sunshine and high temperatures. However, heavy rainfall and flooding in Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Russia, Romania, Italy and Switzerland made the British weather look surprisingly nice, for once!
Although we can't say whether climate change caused the heavy rainfall, scientists predict we will see more heavy rainfall days in the future than we currently get. The Environment Agency Sustainable Development Unit, said in June 2001: 'Major floods that have only happened before say, every 100 years on average, may now start to happen every 10 or 20 years. The flood season may become longer and there will be flooding in places where there has never been any before.'
So, the risk of flooding looks greater than ever and not just in the UK, but throughout the whole World.
The UK has experienced devastating floods throughout the last five years, which have affected thousands of people and caused millions of pounds worth of damage. Can we really cope with similar flooding incidents in the future and is there anything we can do to prevent it or deal with it? Adapt homes etcetc.