The Gulf Stream

The Gulf Stream

Title

  • The Gulf Stream

Published Date

  • published 1940

Transcript

Sweden, and Finland, together have only four hundred and thirty
thousand. Alaska has a population of sixty thousand but the three
European countries support more than twelve million.

Alaskan ports on the Bering Sea are blocked by ice from
November to May each year but the Norwegian port, Hammerfest, only a
few degrees away from the North Pole and the ice-choked arctic basin, is
open to vessels the year around. Hammerfest is about five thousand
miles away from the Florida Straits.

After leaving Florida, the Gulf Stream travels more and more
slowly as it moves northward until at last it barely moves. A sealed
bottle tossed into the Gulf Stream at Miami, if nothing happened to it,
would arrive at Hammerfest a year and a half later. During that time, the
Gulf Stream water surrounding the bottle would be exposed to a winter
in the North Atlantic Ocean. Carrying the bottle along, it would melt
[sic] an endless procession of mountainous icebergs that drift down on
the Labrador current. From it would come the heat that bathes the coasts
and islands of all western Europe with warm air and gentle rains. After
all this, there still remains, in that part which drifts northeastward along
Norway, enough heat to conquer the frigid winters of the Arctic regions.

It is estimated that coal burning at the rate of two million tons a
minute would not produce enough heat to equal that given off by the
Gulf Stream as it crosses the ocean on its northern journey. That is a
tremendous amount of coal, but the Gulf Stream, about fifty