Sign up FAST! Login

What Is This “Polar Vortex” That Is Freezing the U.S.? | Scientific American

Stashed in: Science!, Colbert, Weather!, Climate Change!

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

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.

Yeah, it's no longer "global warming". It's not "global climate change".

And it has only just begun.

Thank you for the explanation, Geege!

Colbert on the Polar Vortex:

Polar Vortex - Imgur

Polar Vortex - Imgur

Polar Vortex - Imgur

Colbert Polar Vortex gif bravo Imgur

You May Also Like: