Goffs Oak, along with the rest of the United Kingdom enjoys a relatively mild but wet climate. This is due, in part, to the existence of the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream is a warm ocean current that flows from the Gulf of Mexico, northeast along the coast of the United States and onwards to the United Kingdom and Western Europe. The Gulf of Mexico has relatively high air temperatures due to its proximity to the Equator. The warm air from the current is quite moist as it travels across the Atlantic; this is one reason why we have our fair share of wet and mild weather.
We have all been disappointed with poor summer weather over recent years. 2018 was an exception. This phenomenon has been caused by some intense depressions coming in from the Atlantic; these depressions have brought a high frequency of wet weather. The culprit to blame is the ‘jet stream’. This ribbon of high altitude wind that snakes around the earth and steers Atlantic depressions towards the United Kingdom has been trapped in a more southerly course, bringing with it its wet and windy weather.
Goffs Oak is situated on the coordinates of Longitude 0’ 0866’ west and Latitude 51’ 7091’ north, if we were to turn the world upside down the nearest land in the Southern hemisphere with similar southerly coordinates would be the most isolated island in the world, the Norwegian territory of Bouvet Island. Bouvet Island is a tiny speak of volcanic rock in the South Atlantic Ocean and is covered in glacial ice. It is situated approximately two thousand miles south of South Africa on the southerly coordinates of Longitude 3’ 3464’ east and Latitude 54’ 4208’ south, a mere seven hundred and fifty miles further south and east of where Goffs Oak would be. Bouvet Island was discovered in 1739 by a French naval officer but no claim to its title was made until 1825, when the British flag was raised. In 1928 the United Kingdom relinquished its claim in favour of Norway.
Bouvet Island has a dry and frigid climate. The island has no rainfall and its summer temperatures rarely exceed 34’ Fahrenheit.
The reason why the climate of Bouvet Island is so inhospitable is that it is in the direct path of the icy Benguela current. This current, moves north, from around Antarctica and ultimately flows northward along the south west coast of Africa.
Yes, we can have a poor summer but we should feel fortunate in that the Gulf Stream has such a kind influence on our climate. How different it would be if we were left to the mercy of the cold Benguela current.
Written by Committee Member GOCA
Bouvet Island, or “Bouvetøya” in Norwegian. After a dispute with the United Kingdom, it was declared a Norwegian dependency in 1930. It became a nature reserve in 1971.