(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
What Is This Polar Vortex That Is Freezing The US?
"The polar vortex is a prevailing wind pattern that circles the Arctic, flowing from west to east all the way around the Earth. It normally keeps extremely cold air bottled up toward the North Pole. Occasionally, though, the vortex weakens, allowing the cold air to pour down across Canada into the U.S., or down into other regions such Eastern Europe. In addition to bringing cold, the air mass can push the jet stream—the band of wind that typically flows from the Pacific Ocean across the U.S.—much further south as well. If the jet stream puts up a fight, the moisture it carries can fall out as heavy snow, which atmospheric scientists say is the circumstance that caused the February 2010 “snowmageddon” storm that shut down Washington, D.C.
But why does the vortex weaken? Now it gets interesting. More and more Arctic sea ice is melting during summer months. The more ice that melts, the more the Arctic Ocean warms. The ocean radiates much of that excess heat back to the atmosphere in winter, which disrupts the polar vortex. Data taken over the past decade indicate that when a lot of Arctic sea ice disappears in the summer, the vortex has a tendency to weaken over the subsequent winter, if related atmospheric conditions prevail over the northern Atlantic Ocean. The situation looks something like that shown in the graphic below. (For a full explanation, see the Scientific American article that accompanies the graphic.)
Although the extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic varies year to year, overall it has been disappearing to a notable degree since 2007 and it is forecast to continue to vanish even further. That could mean more trouble for the polar vortex, and more frigid outbreaks—a seeming contradiction to “global warming,” perhaps, but not for “global weirding,” also known as climate change."
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Dr. Jennifer Francis on Arctic amplification and the jet stream. AGW deniers' heads are exploding at not being able to understand science.
The period of consequences is here. This is a must see and important video.
Arctic Ocean Leaking Methane At Alarming Rate
Methane Feedback & Abrupt Climate Change
Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Annual Minimum Extent- 6th Lowest Extent Recorded: Deniers Desperate To Spin Even That...
Arctic Ice, Oceans, Climate And The Human Condition
The Arctic, Humanity's Barometer
Major Loss In Arctic Sea Ice Volume
For the life of me I do not understand why this is so hard to understand. Record breaking sea ice loss in the Arctic not only affecting extent but more so volume is leaving more open water thus leaving more open space becoming warmer through retention of sun's rays that would normally be radiated back into space.... this then causes more warming (positive feedback) raising the temperature of the Arctic in comparison to warmer temperatures at Equator. This then has effect on jet stream, speed of jet stream and duration of events taking place in mid latitudes (cold, heat, storms, floods, droughts.) There is no disputation in the scientific community as to the human element involved in this Arctic sea ice loss either, so consequently any residual consequences of that ice loss would then have a human fingerprint on it.
Therefore, we know it is not about not understanding the mechanism behind this that constantly brings us the same partisan political battles. It is just that those whose ideology or wallet are threatened by that revelation have to instinctively try to debunk the science for those selfish reasons. This is why it is imperative that people not be constrained by political/ideological biases in order to clearly see just what effects our forcings are having upon Earth's systems. This shouldn't be a contest between two groups fighting to score points. This is about OUR LIVES.
Also, to those using the cold weather to say it negates global warming (there is an especially nasty and ill informed group posting to certain Internet sites) because you are incapable of reason and logic and do not realize there are two hemispheres and other countries on our planet besides the US, a contrast for you that has been part of the overall trend:
Australia Endures Hottest Year On Record
100,000 Bats Fall from the Sky in Australia Due to Extreme Heat Wave
Rio Heatwave Sets Off Sprinklers
Foul Weather In Britain Linked To US Polar Vortex
Brazil floods: Worst rains for 90 years wreak havoc
/ Record Rain Floods Brazil
UPDATE 6-6-13:Czech Floods...Floods in Central Europe... Floods in the Midwest... Monster Tornadoes...Heatwaves...Glacier Melting...Excessive Drought... Now, What Could Be The Reason? Really? People Are Still Asking That Question?