J.C. Moore Online
Current Events from a Science Perspective

Cause of the Polar Vortex

It is difficult to explain how global warming can cause the extreme cold weather we have been experiencing lately. The Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the earth. The warmer Arctic destabilizes the jet stream, causing it to pull frigid air down from the Arctic into the United States.

The weaker the jetstream, the slower the loops (called Rossby Waves) move from West to East. This causes the polar vortex pattern to persist longer over the United States. This is like a weather event – and when it will happen is difficult to predict. However, all indications are that we will have many more such events as the Arctic warms.

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