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Why doesn't Europe have a cold climate more similar to that of Alaska and northern Canada?
Question Date: 2009-02-19
Answer 1:

I bet you looked at a map or globe and saw that latitude told you a lot about climate. In other words, the farther you are from the equator,the colder you are likely to be. This is a really good observation.

Then it sounds like you noticed an exception to the rule. You're really thinking like a scientist. Scientists look at patterns and exceptions and try to explain them.

England isn't as warm as Florida, but it's not as cold as Alaska either.The difference is the ocean. Water is really good at holding heat. Trythis, take two identical plastic bottles. Fill one with water and putthe cap on. Leave the other one "empty." It's not really empty, it's filled with air. Leave them out until the water is the same temperature as the air. Now put them both in the refrigerator. Which gets cold faster? Leave them alone all day or all night. Now take them out.Which gets warmer faster?

Water takes a lot longer to warm up or cool down. This is true with the ocean. The air temperature on land goes up and down a lot more than the water temperature of the ocean. Summer sun warms up the ocean, and a lot of this heat is stored there. When the land is colder than the water, some of the heat from the water is transferred to the air, making it warmer. Places near a lot of water tend to be warmer in winter and cooler in the summer.

The water in the oceans is always moving, so oceans move heat around the earth. We call the water moving in a specific way a "current." One major current is the Gulf Stream. It carries warm water from around Florida over to England. This may add heat to England.

Most of Alaska is farther north than most of England, so the state as a whole is colder than England. Take a look at a map of Alaska. Which cities do you think are warmer and colder? Will Barrow be colder than Ketchikan? Will Kotzebue get as cold or as warm as Allakaket?

Go towclimate
to see if your predictions were correct.Type in the name of the city and hit "search." Pick the city's namef rom the list and look at the 24-hour average temperature. What are the highest and lowest temperatures?
Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

It is because most of Europe has the advantage of the warm ocean current coming north from the tropics.The same weather patterns that bring the hurricanes north up the coast of the United States continues on across the Atlantic. There is then little interaction with colder air masses and colder ocean currents, so the overall weather in Europe is in general warmer that that seen in Alaska and Northern Canada. Alaska and Canada have ocean currents (and weather patterns) that originate in the colder regions and bring colder weather onto land.

Answer 3:

Climate depends not only on latitude but also the arrangement of land masses and arrangement of oceans and even on the currents in the oceans... so its all rather complicated. But i think NORTHERN Europe does have a quite cold climate not unlike that of Alaska. But in southern Europe things are different.

Answer #4Angelica,This is a great question because parts of Canada and Europe lie along the same latitude (they are about the same distance north of the equator) but Canada has much colder winters. The cause of the temperature difference is the Earth's atmospheric circulation -- the direction and strength of predominant winds. Generally, Europe receives more wind from the south, which is warmer (because that air is moving up from the equator where there is more sunshine), so the air temperatures in Europe are warmer than the very cold winters in Canada. Sheila Morrissey, Earth Scienceskm@umail.ucsb.eduAnswer #5Hi Angelica,Scandanavia does, but most of Europe is farther south than Alaska or northern Canada. Most of Europe has a climate and latitude comparable to southern Canada or the northern United States. Spain, Greece, and Italy have climates like that of California.Andy, Earth ScienceAndy Simpson

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