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Dear Tom, 

If London is farther north than Chicago, why doesn’t London get more snow and cold than Chicago?


Dear Sue,

London’s weather is greatly influenced by the Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current with origins in the Caribbean. Winter ocean temperatures off England are typically in the 40s. When arctic air does move in, it has been modified by travel across vast expanses of water. London shares a similar latitude (51.5 degrees N) with cities like Warsaw, Kiev, and Winnipeg and is nearly 10 degrees north of Chicago. A comparison of mid-winter high/low temperatures in these cities clearly illustrates the Gulf Stream’s influence—London 44/36,  Warsaw, 32 /22 , Kiev 26/16, Winnipeg 14/-4, and Chicago 32/18. In a typical winter, London records snow on fewer than ten days, though on rare occasions, it has been hit by heavy snow and blizzards.