of the north sea

lavvyan  asked:

Hey there! Say we're dealing with a race of merfolk who live somewhere in the North Sea and feed on plankton. Whereaboutish would they have to migrate if the gulf stream cut off? Could there be such a thing as a gradual disappearance or would there have to be some sort of catastrophic event that led to a sudden stop of warm water? I've tried searching for this but my google-fu is weak and oceanology utterly baffles me. Could you point me in the right direction? Thanks in advance!

Okay so, I’m gonna start by sharing the image of what the Gulf Stream looks like so i can refer back to it in the answer.

As you can see, the warm water that feeds the North Sea comes from the area between Iceland and the UK. That is not a short distance, like, at all. Youre talking hundreds if not thousands of miles it would take to cut off the flow of warm water to that area.

So in short, for the Gulf Stream to be cut off entirely, you’re talking about blocking off thousands of miles of ocean, very treacherous ocean mind you, that’s where the Titanic went down, and then sealing up the straight between the UK and Europe. That’s a really catastrophic event or enough of a precursor of danger for your mermaids to get out of the North Sea area.

Now, I haven’t taken my Oceanology class yet(working on that one), but I’m pretty sure that there isn’t actually any scientifically backed up information on an ‘if this happened…’ because it might not be possible based on recorded measurements of the Gulf Stream, or there simply isn’t enough information to back any claims on what COULD happen if the Gulf Stream were cut off, or it sounds so impossible that no one is willing to fund the research on it.

I hope this helps and good luck!

EDIT

I totally forgot to add the image source, but here it is!

Source