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I think it's a bit early to hang the European winters on the Labrador current.
 

Well, I suppose depends on your purpose.  

If you want a complete description (model) of what is happening right now, it is indeed too early.  You will have to wait several decades, at which time it will be of historical interest only.  

On the other hand if you are trying to look ahead, and anticipate what will happen, by discerning what is likely, it is not too early at all.  I think we are just mystifying ourselves if we insist that it all about the North Atlantic Oscillation being disturbed.  Sure it is disturbed!--but what is the rest of the story?  Admittedly, by focusing the Labrador current I am simplifying, but I think this is a key piece, which is, moreover, easy to understand.  

Like most of us, I would like to have more information and more data, but I think the significant point of this article is that though the means are indirect it does establish a rough picture of what is happening that can be debated in detail but in the large leaves little doubt.  

Corals really do respond to nutrients in the water, and nutrients really can be associated with ocean currents, so that part is not open to doubt.  

I am no longer interested in debates about climate change per se.  I can look out my window and see the climate is changing, and anyone who has lived a few decades in one place can do the same.  

But I am very much interested in looking ahead to what is coming--what we can expect.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sun Jan 9th, 2011 at 03:55:07 AM EST
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It's all of course inter-related but the key is understanding the North Atlantic Oscillation. Broadly speaking, it's pretty well established that a positive NAO results in a weak Labrador Current, a negative, the reverse.

We have data going back just over 100 years on the NAO,  but our understanding of it, much less our ability to predict it, is still not all that clear (this article is good recent reference on the NAO). To go back further one of course needs a proxy. To me this article essentially tries to provide just that.

by Jace on Sun Jan 9th, 2011 at 09:52:57 PM EST
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Nice article on NAO.

Do you think it is already possible to correlate this proxy-study to the 100 years of NAO data, or would we need more data points at various locations?  

by Nomad on Mon Jan 10th, 2011 at 03:19:00 PM EST
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Given the complexities of the system, I'd say this study is only a start.
by Jace on Tue Jan 11th, 2011 at 10:51:11 AM EST
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