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Global Warming Could Cause More Cold Snaps
09th September, 2014
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Remember that sudden, extreme plunge in temperatures throughout much of the United States in January 2014, which led to life-threatening wind chills that forced schools to close in the Midwest? Many were mystified to hear that it was caused by a disturbance of a previously obscure atmospheric phenomenon called the Polar Vortex.

Well, if you hated shivering through that cold snap, you better stock up on thermal underwear.

A new study published by U.S. and South Korean researchers in Nature Communications predicts that as the world gets warmer, parts of North America, Europe and Asia paradoxically could be hit by such cold snaps more often due to blasts of Arctic air. The explanation is that shrinking sea ice could allow more energy to be transferred from the warmer ocean waters beneath it into the atmosphere. That energy weakens and distends the Polar Vortex, which actually is a huge cyclone of swirling high-speed winds that keeps cold air trapped in the Arctic. When the vortex weakens, it allows the cold air to slip southward.

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