January 28, 2023

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Storm Elliot over the US and Canada: What is the polar vortex and what is happening with climate change?

Most of these hours North America Squeezing itself in the grip of the polar cold it has brought Storm Eliot. Nearly 200 million people are now affected by the cold in some areas after experiencing above-average December temperatures. 40 degrees below zero. Oncoming polar vortex Use already caused at least one fatality 8 peoplewhile beyond A million without electricity. About them later 10,000 flights have been cancelled For cold weather from New York, Chicago and Denver airports. “It’s not a snow day like when we were kids, it’s serious stuff,” He announced President of the United States Joe Biden Blizzards, freezing rain and polar winds sweep the continent from Canada to the Rio Grande. But what caused such a powerful and sudden cooling? Coming there Climate change? Some argue that this is proof that global warming does not exist, but in fact, experts explain, this phenomenon is an example of the exact opposite, yet another reason why this phenomenon should concern mankind.

What is the polar vortex and why is it over North America?

As explained The New York Times, bringing the origin of the polar tip to unusual latitudes causes intense cooling. It is a large volume of air Usually revolves around the pole NorthBut it occasionally slips out of its bounds, Already happened in February 2021While much of Texas was left in the dark. It is called polar vortex capture jet stream, formed due to the temperature difference between the polar, which is freezing, and the temperate, less cold regions. Scientists aren’t sure if this polar vortex shift is caused by global warming, but many argue otherwise: Climate change is making this type of event more common and possible.

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The role of climate change

According to some scientists, as the American newspaper explains, the High amount of energy in the atmosphere Caused by global warmingand waves that bend the jet stream and move the polar vortex off its own path. One such polar vortex is currently hovering over North America. Other expertsOn the other hand, even admitting the fact that the waves of the polar vortex are causing the cold weather currently affecting the United States and Canada, They are more cautiousAnd argue that the effects of climate change, mostly observed in the 1990s and 2000s, may not even be reflected now.

Elena Shao / The New York Times | A graphic scheme representing the polar vortex during these hours

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