Melting ice is destabilising the polar vortex, study claims

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  • Polar vortex was responsible for freezing temperatures in the US this winter
  • It is a large pocket of very cold air that sits over the polar region
  • Study claim the recent vortex may have been caused by melting polar ice
  • Warm water melts the ice, and this causes warm air to be released 
  • Warm air destabilises polar air, sending cold blasts into the atmosphere
  • As global warming continues to heats oceans, freezing winters will increase
  • Global warming could be triggering increasingly cold winters in some parts of the world, scientists have claimed.

    Researchers have discovered a link between rising ocean temperatures, and a large pocket of cold air known as the polar vortex.

    They discovered that as oceans heat up and melt the Arctic ice, warm air is released that destabilises polar air and sends cold blasts into the atmosphere.

WHAT IS A POLAR VORTEX?

A polar vortex is a large pocket of very cold air that sits above the polar region during the winter season.

During winter, this air gets cold, and contrasts with the temperatures further away from the pole.

Pressure contrasts between these temperatures create fast winds that swirl around the pocket of cold air.

The polar vortex is weakest during summer, because there is less of a contrast between temperatures.

 

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