Subzero 'polar vortex' pushes frigid air across United States

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 11:04 a.m.

    The polar vortex is a winter phenomena. It develops as the sun sets over the polar region and temperatures cool. During the spring, the sun rises and the absorption of solar radiation by ozone begins to heat the polar stratosphere. This heating eventually causes the vortex to disappear along with the polar night jet. However, this process is helped along by planetary-scale waves that propagate up from the troposphere. This wave event that drives the vortex breakup (or final warming) acts to also increase the temperature of the polar region and ozone levels. Source NASA. Other causes include cfcs chlorine, and ozone levels. NASA says it is an annual event with highly variable outcomes year to year. There is also a polar vortex at the south pole.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 10:46 a.m.

    But the last time we had the effects of the Polar Vortex a couple of decades ago, James Hansen said the polar vortex displacement was caused by global cooling. It is counter intuitive not to question. From reading other articles it has been stated the cause of the polar vortex displacement is not really understood. The claim that it is is so much alarmist talking points.

    I don't understand how your reference and put down of others view points as "for some of the less developed minds here" does not get censored as being a personal and belittling attack.

  • Northern Logan, UT
    Jan. 7, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    What exciting news... WE DID IT, praise the EPA for policy's that have saved humanity. let us all unite with joy knowing that the future is safer from the better world we have created, Mother Earth is healing herself.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 7, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    Thid Barker

    Please understand that one reason for no calamities is because the media tend to give voice to the extremes (either “the world will end” or “absolutely nothing will happen”). Moderate data guys telling us that we will have slow but inexorable negatives just aren’t press worthy.

    I think we first need to dial down all the noise and rhetoric and deal with the science. One reason we have not is because (I think) we intrinsically know that this will not be an easy or cheap fix. But we need to answer the questions of what is happening and (understanding these will be estimates) at what speed are we moving? Only once we have these firmly in hand should we bring in the economists to help us map out a strategy.

    Will other countries cheat? When is that not true? But will anyone move without leadership from the world’s largest economy? No.

    BTW, the Carbon Tax and Carbon Trading were conservative ideas on how to avoid govt. regulation and allow the govt. to simply set overall limits and then let the markets sort out the particulars. Funny how these things morph.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 7, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    The polar vortex displacement is actually caused by global warming. It may seem counterintuitive to some of the less developed minds here, but it is true.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Jan. 7, 2014 7:19 a.m.

    Twin lights. I don't disagree with much of what you said. However, entered into this global warming debate is the proposed "fix" of massive carbon taxes. When other people's money, politics and science (real or theoretical) all come together, watch out for a massive scam! Whether you believe that or not, even IF (huge if) carbon taxes would change the climate, the reality is that China, India, Russia and most other real polluters will not be joining the "fix" and that renders the "fix" useless and irrelevant, even economically destructive. In other words, we and they are not experiencing the disastrous climate changes that some in science and politicians predicted. That means ever fewer countries will risk their economies to support a huge scam which is what we and they are actually experiencing! Currently it appears the only countries pushing this world wide carbon tax are countries that believe we will be giving them our money (which we don't have anyway). Go figure!

  • Allisdair Thornbury, Vic
    Jan. 7, 2014 12:24 a.m.

    It is a pity the article didn’t mention what is happening to the Arctic Vortex

    Dim Coumou, a senior scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research recently said the polar vortex is driven by the difference in temperature between the Arctic and mid latitudes.

    Once sharp, this differential has blurred recently as the Arctic - where temperatures are rising at about twice the global average - warms up. When the vortex weakens, the air starts heading southwards, bringing exceptional snow and chill to middle latitudes.

    The strong meanderings of the “Jet-stream” that contains the Arctic Vortex is still not fully settled, but it's clear that the Arctic has been warming rapidly.

    Last month, European scientists reported that the volume of sea ice in November was about 50% greater compared with a year earlier, following a recovery in the Arctic summer. Despite this bounce-back, sea-ice remains at near-record lows and its overall trend is one of retreat, they said.

    Sharrona - “Antarctica has been adding ice all along.” Sorry only the Eastern Antarctic is having increased Sea-ice. However, the regions of West Antarctic are recording a drop in sea-ice extent of about 7% each decade.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 9:42 p.m.

    In 1988 Ted Danson hit the environmental scene predicting that the oceans would be dead in ten years and the remainder of the Earth would follow. The more he made a big deal out of it, the greater his following. The news media was frontpaging fast.

    Just six years ago Al Gore predicted that all sea ice would be gone by 2013. He’s off by a scant 920,000 square miles. In just the first 7 ½ months of 2013 the Arctic Ice Cap added more than 19,000 Manhattans. Oh, and Antarctica has been adding ice all along.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 6, 2014 8:18 p.m.

    Thid Barker,

    As a biology major you know how science advances. There are likely things you were taught that have since been replaced by more accurate theories. But (unless you are dramatically older than me) some of the particulars have changed but most of the basics remain.

    Climate science is a younger science. But a science it is. Most of the full-throated deniers seem to believe in a web of conspiracy and intrigue that defy simple human experience (nobody keeps a secret and lots of folks want to be the heroic whistleblower).

    I suppose the scientists who taught you would be quite peeved if anyone questioned their bonafides the way climate scientists are routinely challenged. And there are those who offer very well-known information as something the scientists have failed to consider (cue the little ice age). Imagine telling your profs about natural selection as if they had not heard?

    As to the models. They will always be improving. Climate is an exceedingly complex thing to model and we will likely only get reasonable approximations. They will not predict any one year but will give us the long term trends.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Jan. 6, 2014 7:25 p.m.

    Twin lights. As a biology major let me suggest that any "scientist" that tells you he has the final word on anything, you can know for a certainty that he is no scientist. And that especially is true about climate change.
    Experience is not science but it is still valuable knowledge and the record cold temperatures we are experiencing is more real and observable than all the theoretical computer model forecasting in the world. We are not experiencing what science has forecast! How come? Because science got it wrong as they usually do, at least at first!

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 4:58 p.m.

    Global warming theory never claims there won't be any record lows, it just says they'll occur less often on average. Think of it this way, if your part of the world has had a 1C warming trend the past century then all the ups and downs we see with weather during the year are still going to happen, it's just going to roughly be 1C warmer every day due to global warming. That means more record highs than record lows, something we've seen in the data.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 6, 2014 3:24 p.m.

    Thid Barker,

    Not quite. There will be greater and greater accuracy as science progresses. It is not that what we once knew is proven completely wrong - Einsteinian physics did not disprove Newtonian physics - it gave it a more nuanced view that was more applicable at the extremes.

    Look to early leaders of the church. They loved science. Look to leaders today. Many come from the worlds of education or science.

    Science is the best way we have of understanding the world in front of us. Yes, the scriptures teach us who we are and our purpose but they not to give us the nuts and bolts of how to solve our day to day problems (principles yes, data no). For that we use the best information available and that is from science.

    Will science continue to advance? I sure hope so. Will some things be proven wrong? Likely. Will most of what we know turn out to be completely wrong or simply more refined? The latter.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Jan. 6, 2014 11:04 a.m.

    @ Twin lights. Science is so fleeting. Everything we think we know will eventually be proven to be completely wrong or at least very incomplete. As our grandparents science is to us, so will our science be to our grandchildren.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 6, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    The only thing that matters is planet wide data over the long term. All else is fluff and "I told you so". Let's leave science to the scientists.

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    Jan. 6, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    Yes liberals we know, there is a difference between climate and weather

    When there are record high temps its climate

    When there are record low temps is weather

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Jan. 6, 2014 7:45 a.m.

    Dang it! And just when many were convinced man made global warming (climate change)is real! Dang it anyway! Pretty much spoils the climate change, carbon tax party doesn't it?