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Ben Franklin's Map: The Gulf Stream, Weather, and Climate


Click on map to enlarge. Read more about Franklin and the Gulf Stream at the NOAA library.
The special series that began in Sunday’s Inquirer (12/18/2005) is an in-depth look at the gulf stream - from its earliest mapping (by Ben Franklin!) to the far-ranging effects the stream has on weather and climate.

The main articles are written by Anthony Wood, who has covered weather and climate issues for several years at the Inquirer. A number of other staffers have put together other goodies at the web site, including some animated graphics that illustrate the interaction between sun, wind, and earth’s spin.

Check out the series by clicking here

In some ways the Gulf Stream reminds me of the Red Spot of Jupiter discussion in the Gleick book - a bit of order within the turbulent seas around it.

The articles do not have any references to chaos, non-linear dynamics, Edward Lorenz, and the theoretical problems with forecasting weather and climate. I believe that the public should be aware of the theoretical limitations faced by weather modelers - especially when modeling and predicting the weather and climate-altering events due to phenomena as large as the Gulfstream. Given its highly non-linear nature, predicting the on-going stability and variations of the Gulfstream may be as difficult as predicting the stability of the Solar System.