Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The connections among climate change, the wobbling jet stream, and the polar vortex explained by PBS Terra and CBS News

I concluded Paczki Day during a pandemic by telling my readers "Speaking of the weather, I plan on writing about the winter storm and its connection to the changing climate tomorrow. Stay tuned." I begin with a general explanation of the phenomenon in PBS Terra asking Why on Earth are Winters Getting Worse if the Planet is Getting Warmer?

In 2015, Boston was brought to its knees by the worst winter on record, receiving an unprecedented 110 inches of snow. And over the last decade, the American Northeast has seen more than a 200% increase in the frequency of large, disruptive snowstorms. This trend surprised nearly everybody, including many of the top experts, as they had been expecting a warming planet to translate into milder winters. But in many locations, we have seen just the opposite. So what’s going on here?

We traveled to Boston to search for answers about these surprising effects of climate change and their connection to the jet stream, the polar vortex, and a phenomenon known as “arctic amplification.” We also discuss some of the most common risks like hypothermia, frostbite, heart attacks, and traffic accidents that make winter weather, far and away, the deadliest natural hazard of them all.

Weathered is a show hosted by meteorologist Maiya May and produced by Balance Media that helps explain the most common natural disasters, what causes them, how they’re changing, and what we can do to prepare.
The story Maiya May told "about these surprising effects of climate change and their connection to the jet stream, the polar vortex, and a phenomenon known as 'arctic amplification'" is one I've told before in Polar vortex and difference between climate and weather explained, Vox explains how a warming Arctic can cause extreme weather, and The polar vortex returns, bringing near-record cold temperatures, so it's not news to me. Still, this blog has gained a lot of new readers in the last two years, so I think it's worth repeating, especially with the new examples and footage in the PBS Terra video.

Speaking of new examples, Dr. Stuart Harris saying "What you thought was normal in Atlanta or Texas or Virginia is not gonna be" turned out to be prophetic. Watch Polar vortex triggering dangerous winter weather across U.S. for both the effects of the record cold weather in Texas and elsewhere and the connection between that weather and climate change, the wobbling jet stream, and the polar vortex.

Millions are without power as temperatures dive to record lows across a huge portion of the United States. CBS News correspondents Omar Villafranca and Jessi Mitchell have the latest on the impact and CBS News meteorologist and climate specialist Jeff Berardelli joins CBSN with the forecast.
I think Jeff Berardelli explained the interconnected weather phenomena and their effects clearly and compellingly, showing how they contributed to the current record cold weather.

CBS This Morning updated the situation in Winter storm kills at least 17 people, millions still without power in frigid Texas.

At least 17 deaths have been attributed to the winter blast blanketing much of the country - and more freezing temperatures are on the way. Meanwhile, Texas continues to experience deep freeze conditions as residents are questioning why the state failed to prepare for such an unprecedented storm. Omar Villafranca reports.
In contrast to Texas, Oklahoma has power. CBS This Morning reported and explained why in Oklahoma conserves energy as another round of snow, cold blanket the state.

Another winter storm in Oklahoma is bringing more snow and keeping temperatures below freezing. But less than 1% of Oklahoma electricity customers are without power compared to Texas, which has 25% of residents without power. Mireya Villarreal is in Oklahoma City with the interruptions the weather is causing.
I could go on about why Texas has its own electric grid and how that's contributed to the situation, but that's a post for another day. In the meantime, stay warm, stay safe, and stay tuned.

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