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New NASA Visualization Shows What the Dreaded Polar Vortex Really Looks Like

Extreme weather shatters records around the world

lake michigan

US cities as cold as the Arctic. An Australian inferno. The UK covered in snow.

It’s only one month into 2019 and meteorologists are already talking in superlatives as extreme weather patterns have brought cities and towns across the globe to a standstill.

In the United States this week, some 200 million Americans experienced a historic deep freeze that saw temperatures plummet below -32 degrees Celsius (-26 Fahrenheit), killed at least 17 people and led to the cancellation of more than 2,300 flights.

On Thursday, temperatures in 11 states in the continental US saw temperatures lower than the one recorded in Utqiagvik, Alaska’s northernmost city, situated north of the Arctic Circle…

 

New NASA Visualization Shows What the Dreaded Polar Vortex Really Looks Like

It was cold in the Continental US the this week. Colder than Alaska, Mars (technically), and even parts of Antarctica, which isn’t so surprising because it’s presently summer in Antarctica, but sounds wild nonetheless. You probably want to forget about the cold—but we won’t let you.

A new gif by NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on the Aqua satellite offers a visual depiction of the dramatic and deadly cold snap, demonstrating temperatures plummeting to forty below zero. The gif demonstrates the phenomena responsible for the temperatures faced by much of the United States this week, called the polar vortex.

The polar vortex can actually refer to either one of a stacked pair of air masses: one in the lowest part of the Earth’s atmosphere or troposphere, and another on top of it in the stratosphere, both rotating counterclockwise. The lower vortex is a spinning, low-pressure airmass that exists all year, and the upper one exists in the winter, according to this recent paper…

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This entry was posted on 04/02/2019 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , .

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