Monday, January 8, 2018

The Bomb Cyclone

In the winter of 2018, the American Northeast was struck by fierce and extreme winter weather. This apparent weather anomaly was referred to as the “Bomb Cyclone.” It was characterized by a sudden and precipitous drop in barometric pressure accompanied by strong winds and cold arctic air.

Climate scientists have long predicted that accompanying the warming of the lower atomosphere and the oceans, one would expect an increase in the severity and frequency of extreme weather conditions...In a report found in the science section of Time magazine written by Bryan Walsh, the author suggests just such an explanation of this weather phenomenon.

"Sea ice is vanishing from the Arctic thanks to climate change, which leaves behind dark open ocean water, which absorbs more of the heat from the sun than reflective ice. That in turn is helping to cause the Arctic to warm faster than the rest of the planet, almost twice the global average. The jet stream—the belt of fast-flowing, westerly winds that essentially serves as the boundary between cold northern air and warmer southern air—is driven by temperature difference between the northerly latitudes and the tropical ones. Some scientists theorize that as that temperature difference narrows, it may weaken the jet stream, which in turns makes it more likely that cold Arctic air will escape the polar vortex and flow southward. Right now, an unusually large kink in the jet stream has that Arctic air flowing much further south than it usually would."

It should be kept in mind that this conclusion is preliminary: climate scientists would be first to admit that there is not enough accumulated data to unambiguously make this connection, However, numerous examples of extreme weather patterns have already been cited in the scientific literature.

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