From a billion dollar crop loss in California to devastating windstorms across Europe, the Northern Hemisphere is in the grip of some of the worst winter weather seen in decades, and additional severe blasts are predicted for the weekend and into next week. In mid December, the Gulf Stream faltered for approximately ten days. On December 11, a well-defined drain of southward moving warm water appeared, and persisted until December 19, when it began to close. By December 21, the stream appeared relatively normal, but the volume of the subsurface flow remains an open question. Had this situation persisted for a month, it would have caused a major climate catastrophe in Europe, and if it became permanent, fundamental climate change that would lead to dramatically cooler weather across the whole continent. At present, extreme weather conditions exist from California to Poland, with unprecedented crop losses, a massive tree fall due to ice and wind, hundreds of deaths and property damage across twelve countries that could reach into the billions of dollars. This is not being reported as a single connected event, but it may be, if there are more extensive changes in the planetary system of currents that have not yet been documented. The scenario is strikingly similar to the sequences described in Superstorm by Whitley Strieber and Art Bell, although the scale of the present event is obviously not as great as the one described in the book. But the currents have not yet failed completely.
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