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Old 29-01-2019, 14:43   #1
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Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

Why is it So Cold Right Now?
Well, it is winter, but much of this cold spell can be blamed on the polar vortex, a large current of frigid air that, because of the Earth’s rotation, circulates, counterclockwise, in the upper atmosphere around the Arctic Circle. The polar jet stream—the strong winds that push the air—usually keeps it on a tight path, but every once in a while, the spin of the vortex kinks, the jet stream weakens, and a massive chunk of the vortex sags and swoops downward, blasting regions of the Northern hemisphere with Arctic air.
Occasionally (about once every other year or so) the perturbation is so pronounced that the vortex breaks down completely. Scientists call these “sudden stratospheric warming” events, when a continent-sized chunk of rapidly sinking air quickly heats up and disrupts the polar circulation, sometimes completely disintegrating it. Statistically, that’s when the cold air floodgates can really open as the jet stream scrambles to contain the chaotic swirls of polar air that descend southward in the aftermath.
The result isn’t necessarily a one-to-one link from the stratospheric disruption to a blast of cold at the surface, but more of a tilt in the odds favoring extremely cold weather.
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Old 29-01-2019, 15:17   #2
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

That weather is a funny thing cause today we are 1 degree short of a record high in the PNW. Vortex-shmortex.
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Old 29-01-2019, 15:47   #3
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

It’s because of Trump
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Old 29-01-2019, 15:51   #4
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Why is it So Cold Right Now?
Well, it is winter, but much of this cold spell can be blamed on the polar vortex....

Occasionally (about once every other year or so) the perturbation is so pronounced that the vortex breaks down completely. Scientists call these “sudden stratospheric warming” events, when a continent-sized chunk of rapidly sinking air quickly heats up and disrupts the polar circulation, sometimes completely disintegrating it. Statistically, that’s when the cold air floodgates can really open as the jet stream scrambles to contain the chaotic swirls of polar air that descend southward in the aftermath....
Well said and well identified. Space weather - it's not a term you hear often.

The Space Weather Prediction Center is operated by NOAA in Boulder, Colorado. Their primary concern is global electronic communication users, but also power grids and their users. Both can be disrupted by coronal mass ejections from the sun.

These polar vortex events caused by Sudden Stratospheric Warming events - rushing downwards from the poles (where our planet's dipole magnetism least shields the earth from solar wind-related intrusions) - are more the concern of meteorologists, which remind us that our ordinary lives on the surface are indeed vulnerable to "outer space" and beyond. 'Tis humbling to behold.
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Old 29-01-2019, 17:22   #5
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

Very interesting. I was looking at the Earth Wind Map yesterday and it seemed very strange to me. Temperatures higher in the north in many places than they were much farther south and very large in and out flows from the Arctic region. Gord, your post pretty much explains what I was seeing.
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Old 30-01-2019, 06:20   #6
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

it is winter. it is cold in winter in frozen north. wear fur. wear uggs. stay inside with a nice warm toasty wood stove. knit a scarf/muffler.
winter ends around april or may or whenever it feels like ending, so ye have a few more months of skiing and ice skating..in your cars. if you can find em under the snow.
be careful and stay warm.
winter sucks. hahaha make a snowman.
or move south. it is warmer south. one can sail in winter when one is south.
back in the day when -46f wind chill temps were forecast all one did was stay in and keep warm by a fire reading books. today you have cell fones and video games. enjoy your winter. winter is cold.
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Old 30-01-2019, 06:23   #7
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

Next Maunder type solar minimum starting to arrive?
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Old 30-01-2019, 06:25   #8
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

OH NO....... GLOBAL COOLING!!!!

WE'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY.... I want it to get warmer.
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Old 30-01-2019, 08:05   #9
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

Cold? Where? Unless you live in Greenland, in the Western Hemisphere you don't even make the top 15 globally....

As for cold in the US, last night Slidell was supposed to be a bitterly cold 26F.
The actual (official) low was 34 (more like 37 at my house). If I remember correctly, the last time it froze here this winter was late November or early December 2018.

Of course taken individually it's just 'weather'...
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Old 30-01-2019, 08:20   #10
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

Actually Jim, for the last couple of days we have been colder than Greenland. Ken, if you want warm I understand that Australia has an abundance of it.
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Old 30-01-2019, 08:22   #11
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

The United States’ all-time record lowest temperature is about where you’d expect it to be: Alaska, the now mostly-abandoned settlement of Prospect Creek, where it got down to -62.2oC one fine January morning in 1971.


Here’s Canada’s entry in the list, and it stands out not just as the coldest-ever temperature in the nation, but the coldest in North America (no, we’re not counting Greenland). When the thermometer bottomed out at -62.8oC (-81.4oF) on February 3, 1947, in the Yukon outpost of Snag, it turned the handful of frozen inhabitants into minor celebrities, hounded by newspapers phoning in to ask what life is like in that kind of ridiculous extreme cold. The joke was, the scientists couldn’t celebrate, since all the alcohol they had was frozen at the bottom of their thermometers, but it’s doubtful anyone actually IN Snag at the time thought it was funny. Exposed skin would freeze within four minutes, people could hear dogs barking several kilometers away, and breath would linger in the air for several minutes, in long trails hundreds of metres long. Lucky for the airmen, scientists and local inhabitants, it didn’t stay that cold. As the day wore on, temperatures climbed to a nice, comfy -48.9oC

The capital city of the province of Manitoba, Winnipeg is home to more than 715,000 people and is one of the coldest major cities in North America. Situated in the Canadian Prairies, Winnipeg experiences normal January lows of minus 5 to minus 9 F (minus 20 to minus 22 C). Throughout its history, the city has experienced some of the most bone-chilling conditions imaginable. Temperatures as low as minus 49 F (minus 45 C) were recorded on Feb, 18, 1966 and minus 54 F (minus 47.8 C) on Dec. 24, 1879.

Yellowknife is the capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories, located on the shore of Great Slave Lake and about 320 miles from the Arctic Circle. Home to over 20,000 people, the city’s roots are based in the mining industry. During the winter, its northern heritage is on display through the ice roads that still provide transport to the community. Due to its subarctic climate, normal low temperatures during the month of January can reach minus 26 F (minus 32 C) in Yellowknife. Normal highs can struggle to get past minus 7 F (minus 21 C). The coldest temperature on record for the city is minus 60 F (minus 51 C) on Feb. 1, 1947. Yellowknife was given the title of coldest Canadian city in 2014. The city also boasts “long and clear” winter nights which provide optimal conditions to view the aurora borealis from mid-November to early April.
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Old 30-01-2019, 08:31   #12
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

And...if we take the high (45.2) and the low (-55.1) and average them out, we get -9.9 C.

Since the average daily temp from 1951-1980 is 14.9 C ("GISS data show global average temperatures in 2017 rose 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) above the 1951-1980 mean. According to GISS, the global mean surface air temperature for that period was estimated to be 57 F (14 C). That would put the planet's average surface temperature in 2017 at 58.62 F (14.9 C).") it seems that even the Galilean bloggers don't realize how serious the threat of the 'imminent ice age' truly is...
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Old 30-01-2019, 08:46   #13
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

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… Here’s Canada’s entry in the list, and it stands out not just as the coldest-ever temperature in the nation, but the coldest in North America (no, we’re not counting Greenland). ...
You probably know this as well Gord, but the town of White River, north of Lake Superior, claims to be "The Coldest Spot in Canada” with a temperature of -72C.

I don’t think this is officially recognized, but they’ve got a big novelty thermometer showing it to be true, so take that!

https://acanadianfamily.wordpress.co...tage-postcard/

They also claim to be the birthplace of Winnie the Pooh … not the story, the actual bear that inspired the stories.
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Old 30-01-2019, 08:53   #14
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

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OH NO....... GLOBAL COOLING!!!!

WE'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY.... I want it to get warmer.
It is. Today is still 0.3c over average, the Antarctic is 0.8c warmer than average and the artic is 0.5c warmer than average - although some parts are way warmer - the north pole right now is 14c warmer than average



It's possible that as the planet (and esp the polar regions) continues to warm, these polar vortex events are going to become more and more common
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Old 30-01-2019, 09:40   #15
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Re: Why is it So Cold Right Now? (Polar Vortex)

One day in 1994 I was running a earthquake rehabilitation project from the Northridge earthquake in the San Fernando Valley, in Southern California. At coffee break I was reading the newspaper weather section, and the temperature that day was predicted to be 200 degrees different between the San Fernando Valley and Moscow. I do not recall the exact temperatures because I was working an average of 100 hours a week and had a lot on my mind to boot. As an aside, I was sitting in the same place watching TV when the O.J. Simpson jury announced that the glove truly did not fit.
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