weather connection

How Can Stratospheric Warming Lead to a Cold Outbreak?

A weather event is taking place that could lead to increased chances for colder and stormier weather in the United States over the next few weeks. It's called stratospheric warming and it's happening close to the North Pole.

The warming is not taking place at the surface of the North Pole, but rather 18 miles up in the atmosphere. The stratosphere to be exact. That's the layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere where we all live.

These sudden stratospheric warming events have a tendency to weaken the polar vortex, that jet stream that propagates around the North Pole. When strong, the polar vortex tends to keep the coldest air in the Northern Hemisphere well to the North with Santa. A weakened polar vortex allows cold air to spill farther south.

So by warming the stratosphere above the polar vortex, this could lead to intrusions of much colder air into the United States in the coming weeks. This could also lead to more snow opportunities. Stay tuned.

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