POLAR VORTEX OVER NORTH AMERICA A PRODUCT OF ARCTIC WARMING

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31 october 2016

Polar vortex shifting due to climate change, extending winter, study finds

By Jason Samenow, Washington Post, October 31 at 4:25 PM

Global warming could be making winters in eastern North America even longer, according to a new study.

The study finds that, because of sea ice loss in the Arctic, the polar vortex is shifting and temperatures are turning colder during March.

The polar vortex is the zone of frigid air that encircles the Arctic and is most pronounced during winter. Occasionally, it fragments and pieces of it plunge into eastern North America carrying bitter cold air. The winters of 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 witnessed several such polar vortex disintegrations and resulted in record-setting cold snaps.

The study published in Nature Climate Change last week found the vortex has changed position while weakening over the past three decades. The net result has been to increase delivery of cold air into parts of Eurasia and North America, particularly in late winter and early spring.

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