The Nature of Things·Video

We may see more polar vortex winters due to climate change

Sometimes, global warming can make things unusually cold.

Sometimes, global warming can make things unusually cold

Global warming sometimes makes things colder | Wild Canadian Weather

2 months ago
Duration 1:54
The polar vortex normally sits over the North Pole, but when the jet stream breaks down, Canadians can feel the bite of winter much further south. 1:54

"Polar vortex" is a weather term that's been used more and more in recent years. It's a swirling weather system that circles in the atmosphere high above the North Pole. Air temperatures in this system can drop as low as - 80 degrees Celsius.

Normally, this chilly air is held back by the band of air currents known as the jet stream, keeping the vortex circling over Canada's Far North. But scientists think that climate change is causing the vortex and polar jet stream to weaken and bend more often, pushing the vortex from the pole, sending the frigid air much further south. 

A weather term we are more familiar with is wind chill. Our bodies heat a thin blanket of air next to our skin, which can help us feel warm. But if we are exposed to just a small amount of wind, we can feel much colder, faster. 

That moving air eliminates the thin blanket around us — as every good Canadian knows, it's always important to layer up and remember your toque.  

Watch the video above for the full story.

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