We are seeing all sorts of posts and comments about this ‘Polar Vortex’ and decided to ask one of our EIGS experts… so we called Benjamin Jelley, Meteorologist with Worlwinds, Inc., for some insight.
Q: What is the ‘Polar Vortex’?
A: It’s a large-scale upper level cyclone that exists near one or both of the earth’s poles that spins off jet streams of cold, dry artic air in masses having a southern dip to it.
Q: How rare is it?
A: It’s not necessarily rare, it always exists at the poles, but weakens in the summer and strengthens in the winter. It’s happening all over, all of the time, however, it only affects the southern states in the winter every couple of years.
Q: What is the difference between a ‘Polar Vortex’ and the ‘Snowpocalypse’ or ‘Noreaster’?
A: Well the ‘Snowpocalypse’ or the ‘Noreaster’ affects at the mid-latitude bringing cooler weather with moisture and is on a much smaller scale. The ‘Polar Vortex’ exists at the poles forcing cold, dry air to the southern parts of the U.S. and is on a much larger scale.
Benjamin felt this photo summed up Polar Vortex very nicely:
Benjamin Jelley, Staff Meteorologist
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