Weather And Latitude Are Not Allies

Weather And Latitude Are Not Allies

Post by xikom0 » Tue, 29 Jan 2008 13:32:31

There is a popular assumption that if you move to higher latitudes
(toward the poles) you can escape the heat, and that by moving to
lower latitudes (toward the equator) you can escape the cold.

The equation is simple. But is it real? If it was, then the most
northerly capital, Reykjav, would also be the least
until they establish a country on Antarctica. Yes, it appears that
latitude is slacking off and failing to keep temperatures in line.

This was brought home to me when preparing for a radio interview in
Dublin, Ireland. February had just roiled in and I was sitting back
comfortably in my good old Ottawa weather, scraping icicles off my
toes. I was giddy with e *** ment over our warm spell, which it was
reaching a high of minus-5 (that's about 20-degrees American). I
always ask questions the day before an interview, to learn a bit about
my audience, so I asked the producer, "So what's the weather forecast
in Dublin?" asked.

"Oh it's horrible," she told me. "People are bracing for a deep winter
freeze that's supposed to hit tonight. It might even get as cold as

This blew me away, that the folks in Dublin would be worried about the
thermometer dips as low as ours spikes high. After all, isn't Dublin
about the same latitude as Ottawa?

I whipped out my trusty atlas. We live almost exactly on the 45th
parallel. If we lived exactly on it, we would have to share our bed
with a cow and a dozen chickens across the road - that's how close we

I turned the pages to find Ireland. Could I have been mistaken? Is
Dublin really quite south of us? No, it turns out that Dublin lies at
the 53rd parallel. Hey! They should

Weather And Latitude Are Not Allies

Post by RobertV » Tue, 29 Jan 2008 18:32:51

Proximity to oceans, the pattern of currents within them and winds
distributing the warmth and moisture from the ocean.

A very significant amount of energy is redistributed into the North
Atlantic by the gulf stream (flows through the Florida Strait and
northeastward near the east coast of the US) and then over the UK and
western Europe by prevailing winds.

The Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia areas are warmer
than the interior US/Canada areas as well.


Weather And Latitude Are Not Allies

Post by Tony Sperl » Tue, 29 Jan 2008 23:48:13

True, in addition, Ottawa is considerably closer to the continental mainland
wich is quite a lot more exposed to temp contrast, whereas proximity to
oceans levels out any significant highs and lows. When people complain about
going out in freezing temperatures, it is however, much more related to air
moisture than it is to actual temperatures, and there is no polar equipment
that will keep you comfy in -5 in Dublin! (Or, indeed in Copenhagen) What
really is lining up with latitudes is the amount of light, that should not
change at all if you take a round-trip on any one parallel.

This is one of those questions that expose the differences between Climate
and Weather. A somewhat tricky subject?

Tony. . .