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Wpg Free Press: New spin on old polar vortex behaviour

February 19, 2021 — 

As reported by the Winnipeg Free Press

The polar vortex has wrapped its icy arms this week around nearly every inch of the Prairie provinces and northern Ontario, drawing warnings from Environment Canada.

As much as the extreme warmth of January was related to climate change, so too is the recent extreme cold — and it all starts and ends with how a warming planet is changing an enormous climate feature that has the power to dictate weather across the Northern Hemisphere.

The polar vortex is nothing new. It is a low-pressure area that exists over the northern pole of the planet, with a mass of cold air circulating counterclockwise.

“I’ve been going to the North for close to 40 years now. And when I first started working in the Arctic, the polar vortex was a thing that was well-understood,” said David Barber, a Canada Research Chair in Arctic System Science and director of the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Earth Observation Science.

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