The science behind the Polar Vortex

The science behind the Polar Vortex

The science behind the Polar Vortex.

The polar vortex is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding the Earth’s north and south poles. The term “vortex” refers to the counterclockwise flow of air that helps to keep the colder air close to the poles(left globe). Often during the winter in the northern hemisphere, the polar vortex will become less stable and expand, sending cold Arctic air southward over Canada and the United States with the jet stream (right globe). The polar vortex is nothing new – in fact, it’s thought that the term first appeared in an 1853 issue of Eliakim Littell’s long-lived periodical named Littell’s Living Age (1844-1941).

Image: NOAA SciJinks on Twitter

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