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Canada's contribution to Irish weather

"It's a soft day, thanks be to God." (Translation: "It's raining cats and dogs.")

"It's a real heat wave!"…(Translation: "The temperature is 23 degrees.")

Canadians visiting Ireland should include an Irish weather dictionary in their hand baggage. After all, they may be responsible for the climate they encounter.

Recently a scientist at Columbia University in New York published the findings of a study which concluded that the Rocky Mountains, which traverse much of western Canada and the United States, generate a warm current of air which is responsible for the milder winters in Ireland which are 15 to 20 degrees warmer than regions in the same latitude in eastern North America.

Canadians are familiar with the phenomenon called a Chinook, a sudden blast of warm air from the Rockies, which can raise temperatures in cities such as Calgary and Edmonton by as much as 40 to 50 degrees within a couple of hours. People go to work in the morning muffled to the ears, and by lunch time stroll the streets in suits and short sleeves.

Now, according to Richard Seager and his colleagues, whose findings have been published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, the effect of the Gulf Stream on Irish weather has been vastly over rated, in fact negligible when measured against the influence of warm southerly winds originating in the Rockies.

Their results are based on weather data over the past 50 years and the use of computer generated global heat currents.

It has long been accepted and taught in Irish schools that the country's moderate winters are due to the influence of the Gulf Stream. Now they must take into consideration such factors as "When it's springtime in the Rockies, in the Rockies far away."

"Cork is experiencing a Chinook." (Translation-"Those damn Canadians are at it again!")


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