Global Warming vs Polar Vortex

Recently if you have been following the news or President Trump’s tweets you might have seen the words “global warming” or “polar vortex”. By the sound of them, these words sound like the total opposite of one another, but they are both a result of climate change.

Trump recently tweeted about how global “waming” doesn’t exist due to the fact that the Midwest has reached the coldest temperature ever recorded.

Climate Change

According to NASA, “climate change refers to a broad range of global phenomena created predominantly by burning fossil fuels which add heat-trapping gasses to earth atmosphere.” The Industrial Revolution of the 18th century marked a consequential moment in human history as it resulted in accelerated climate change like never before. Scientists had predicted in the past that a number of events might occur due to climate change and they are now happening. Loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves are a few examples of climate change that have already occurred. Even though some might argue that climate change is a hoax that doesn’t really exist, the fact that 2018 was the 4th hottest year in the recorded history of mankind proves otherwise.

The Rocky National Park before vs after.

The Muir Glacier in 1882 vs 2005.

The Great Barrier Reef before vs after. Warmer water temperatures resulted in the coral “bleaching,” or dying.

Global Warming

Global warming is a long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system, an aspect of climate change shown by temperature measurements and by multiple effects of the warming.

Global warming is a result of things such as greenhouse gas emissions & deforestation.

Greenhouse Gases

A greenhouse gas is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range. Greenhouse gases cause the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.

Greenhouse gases trap heat within the atmosphere of the earth thus resulting in climbing global temperatures. A major cause of greenhouse gas emissions is the burning of fossil fuels and coal.

Polar Vortex

According to “A polar vortex is a large pocket of very cold air, typically the coldest air in the Northern Hemisphere, which sits over the polar region during the winter season.” In other words, the polar vortex is a large area of low-pressure air surrounding the Earth’s North and South Poles. The polar vortex is stable all year round, but during the winter months it can become sporadic and shift. Due to climate change and global warming, the polar vortex has become more and more unstable over the years.

How are global warming and the polar vortex related?

You may think that global warming and polar vortex have nothing to do with each other since they sound like the complete opposites of each other, but they, in fact, have a strong correlation. Due to global warming, temperatures have increased all around the globe but especially in areas near the equator. Since cold air is denser than warm air, the warm air from those exceptionally hot regions such as the tropics and the equator rises. When the warm air rises and reaches the North pole, it pushes down the cold air. In recent years the global temperature has increased, thus resulting in more warm air, which in turn means that the more warm air there is the more cold air is pushed down. This creates the irregular polar vortex which resulted in record-breaking low temperatures in the midwest that we have seen.