Polar Vortex, A Wrench in the Gears of Climate Denial

Cartoon by Alex Bowman for ODP

The polar vortex that hit much of the country, and created dire conditions in Texas this week, seems antithetical to the warming brought on by climate change. Yet, a warming planet is ultimately creating more extreme weather events that hit suddenly and leave vast regions completely unprepared for the effects.

The Arctic (the origin of the polar vortex) is warming 2-3 times faster than the rest of the planet and as the World Resources Institute explained, the impacts of a warming Arctic on mid-latitudes is a rapidly emerging field of scientific inquiry. A recent study found a strong relationship between warm Arctic temperatures and severe winter weather east of the Rockies, especially in the eastern United States. While attribution science can’t pin this particular weather event on climate change per se, science is telling us that these extreme events will be our future if we fail to drastically curb our emissions. Sorry #ClimateDenialTwitter!

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