Unless you’re a snowplow driver or an ice-o-philiac, this winter has probably made you miserable. But why, exactly? Luckily, there’s a climate scientist who has got some answers for us:
“We’re getting frequent intrusions of polar air into the middle latitudes.” Johns Hopkins earth science prof Ben Zaitchik explained to the Hopkins Hub. “Essentially, you can think of climates like this: There’s the arctic, which is freezing cold. And then we’re down to middle latitudes, which are more moderate…So we have these really strong east-west winds whipping around the earth, usually just north of us. And those winds act as a barrier in some ways between what’s happening in the polar region and what’s happening down in our more moderate climate zones… What happens to us when we say, ‘Oh, we’ve got a Polar Vortex!’… is the air that’s usually contained in by the jet stream dipped all the way down from the poles and became latitudes. So it kind of came down and got us in Baltimore.”
You can read the rest of Zaitchik’s explanation — plus his reasons for why climate change may be to blame for this wild winter — here.
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