Ice Loss and the Polar Vortex: How a Warming Arctic Fuels Cold Snaps

Read the full story in Inside Climate News.

When winter sets in, “polar vortex” becomes one of the most dreaded phrases in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s enough to send shivers even before the first blast of bitter cold arrives.

New research shows that some northern regions have been getting hit with these extreme cold spells more frequently over the past four decades, even as the planet as a whole has warmed. While it may seem counterintuitive, the scientists believe these bitter cold snaps are connected to the warming of the Arctic and the effects that that warming is having on the winds of the stratospheric polar vortex, high above the Earth’s surface.

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