Arctic Polar Vortex Is Now Spinning in the Wrong Direction and Could Impact Global Weather

The polar vortex above the Arctic is a large ocean current that flows clockwise, with wind speeds of around 155 miles per hour. But due the impacts of climate change, the vortex has been gradually growing faster and faster over the past several years. The most recent change to the trajectory of the vortex occurred on March 4, when it started spinning backwards.

Scientists have long studied this phenomenon and thanks to their research, we know that it is not unusual for polar vortexes to change their trajectory for days, weeks, or even months at a time. This usually happens when temperatures in the stratosphere increase by around 90°F over the course of a couple of days, and this is precisely what happened in early March.

According to NOAA's polar vortex blog, the winds on the vortex are beginning to slow down, indicating that it will probably return to normal soon. In the past, disruptions to the polar vortex have caused widespread weather impacts across the globe. For example, in 2019, a massive cold front hit the Midwestern United States due to the vortex splitting apart into smaller currents.

As climate change continues to get worse, the polar vortex will continue to disrupt, probably at a more frequent rate. Other natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, will also become more frequent and more dangerous. Stories like this emphasize the importance of fighting climate change and limiting the harm that we do to our planet.

In early March, a large polar vortex located above the Arctic changed its trajectory.

Polar Vortex Disruption

Image credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Researchers believe this was caused by a sudden spike in the temperature of the stratosphere and expect it to return to normal soon.

h/t: [Live Science]

This article has been edited and updated. An earlier version mistakenly wrote Antarctic instead of Arctic.

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Sarah Currier

Sarah Currier is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Based in central Iowa, she is currently enrolled at Iowa State University and is working toward a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in English. She loves all things creative, and when she’s not writing, you can find her immersed in the worlds of television, film, and literature.
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