Wouldn't it be nice for your next vacation to travel to an island with palm trees swaying in the warm breeze? One place you might want to visit, then, is the country of Ireland. Although Ireland is located in the far north of Europe, its climate is warm enough for palm trees to grow.
How is it that Ireland's average temperature is so unusually warm? One reason is the warm air that rises up from the Gulf Stream.
The Gulf Stream is a powerful ocean current that travels in a clockwise direction around the North Atlantic ocean. The current picks up a lot of heat when traveling by Florida and Cuba.
As the Gulf Stream travels up the eastern shore of the United States it comes into contact with the westerly trade winds that blow across the northeastern United States. These winds pick heat from the Gulf Stream and carry the heat over the ocean to Ireland, Britain, and France.
By the time the Gulf Stream reaches Ireland, its waters waters have been cooled by the icebergs of the North Atlantic ocean. But before being cooled, the Gulf Stream throws a lot of its heat into the winds that travel over the palm trees of Ireland.
It's amazing to think that the country of Ireland, located further north than most Canadian cities, is warm enough for palm trees to grow. If the Gulf Stream ever stopped flowing, the people in Ireland would likely ask each other, "Hey, I wonder who turned off the heat?"
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