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The 'Polar Vortex' Is Coming Back. Again. - John Metcalfe - The Atlantic Cities

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So California us immune to the vortex? Or is the vortex causing our drought?

The news is ... how do we say ... bad.


On why it is so hot here in California in January:

"Our weather is controlled by the jet stream, which is that band of high altitude winds that blows west to east across North America. The jet stream acts as the boundary between warm air to the south and cold air to the north.

Normally when it’s over California blowing through the center of the country you get sort of average conditions. But what’s happened is the jet now has this unusually far northward penetrating bulge over the western U.S. and a compensating dip over the eastern U.S. So it’s cold over the eastern U.S. and very warm over the western U.S."

On whether or not this weather is a surprise since climate change scientists have predicted it:

"Not really. We are in the midst of a 14-year mega drought in the Southwest including California."

On if this is the worst drought ever: 

"It’s certainly a top three drought going back over 130 years. Mega droughts occur in the Southwest U.S. naturally every 400 or so years. It has happened before, it will happen again, it seems to be happening now."

On if this is the new normal:

"If we look at climate models they say this will be the new normal about in the year 2030 and it will be considered a very, very wet year by the year 2100.

"We’re talking Sahara desert levels of moisture by the end of the century and it’s going to be really hard to maintain our agriculture and cities with that kind of moisture."

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