It’s certainly odd to say that global temperature increases can result in colder winters. But, global temperature increases can really result in colder winters. Scientists refer to this as the Seasonal Paradox.
Climate change is happening and causing the melting of the polar ice caps. Yet, temperatures have hit record lows in the winter, and many regions have experienced their coldest winter to date. What causes these drastic drops in temperature? An expansion of the polar vortex.
A polar vortex is an area of extremely chilly air that normally surrounds the North and South poles. When met with severe changes in the atmosphere, it can destabilize and lead to unpredictable weather patterns.
As ice melts and temperatures rise, the jet stream - a pattern of wind movement in the atmosphere that holds the polar vortex in place (at the North and South poles) - weakens. This results in a steep drop in temperature as cold air moves south and the polar vortex reaches Canada and the United States.
Remember that polar event in January? States such as Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Colorado, New York, and Massachusetts were hit hard with record snowfall and subzero temperatures.
Because of the intensifying effects of climate change, scientists are predicting bigger and longer-lasting snowstorms for the winter seasons ahead. Destabilizing polar vortexes may become increasingly frequent leading to more days of subzero temperatures each winter.
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