December 21, 2015
El Nino and, wait for it! The Polar Vortex are the causes of the unusual warm spell we have been experiencing here in the United States. According to the U.K. Guardian:
The Guardian, 15 December 2015
Alan Yuhas and Oliver Milman
Meteorologists have blamed El NiÃ±o and the polar vortex for record-breaking warm temperatures across the US this week, saying the pair of weather systems will likely keep 2015 warm enough to be the hottest year on record.
This yearâ€™s El NiÃ±o, a recurring weather pattern caused by unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean, is particularly strong and reaching its peak. The high pressure system, now east of Hawaii, sends warm air along the jet stream over the northern Pacific and into the northern and central US.
The system causes storms in the western US, greater precipitation in the south, and warmer air throughout most of the country. The 2015-16 El NiÃ±o is expected to rank as one of the three strongest in half a century.
The system has brought desperately needed water to California, delivering three storms in a week to a state that has been parched by a four-year drought. Earlier this year, Mike Halpert, the deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (Noaa), said the state would need twice its normal rainfall to break free from the drought.
But Halpert ascribes the exceptionally warm weather on the east coast â€“ where Sunday temperatures broke records, hitting 70F (21C) in New York and Philadelphia â€“ to the polar vortex, the same system blamed for numbing the region with cold earlier this year.
"I would not associate the lack of snow in Buffalo with El NiÃ±o,â€ Halpert told CNBC last week, referring to the New York city that usually receives snow by early November. "It is much more likely the Arctic oscillation.â€
Halpert explained that the polar vortex, a circular swirl of cold air moving around the north pole, varies in pressure throughout the winter season â€“ changes called the Arctic oscillation.
High pressure expands the system until the bands of cold wind break along the southbound jet stream, spewing icy weather southward into the US. Low pressure holds the vortex winds wrapped in a closer ring around the pole, trapping Arctic air in the regionâ€¦
"When you combine an Arctic oscillation along with a strong El NiÃ±o, this is what you end up with,â€ Halpert told Time magazine.
This has absolutely nothing to do with global warming. According to a release from UAH:
"The average temperature of Earthâ€™s atmosphere has warmed just over four tenths of a degree Celsius (almost three fourths of a degree Fahrenheit) during the past 37 years, with the greatest warming over the Arctic Ocean and Australia, said Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Microwave sounding units on board NOAA and NASA satellites completed 37 complete years of collecting temperature data in November, giving us nearly global coverage of climate change during that time.
If that trend was to continue for another 63 years, the composite warming for the globe would be 1.1 C (about 2 degrees Fahrenheit) for the century, Christy said. That would put the average global temperature change over 100 years well under the 2.0 C (3.6 degrees F) goal set recently at the climate change summit in Paris.
Due in part (but not exclusively) to the ongoing El NiÃ±o Pacific Ocean warming event, the global temperature trend has been trending slightly warmer over the past several months, Christy said. While the current global trend is just under 0.115 C (rounded down to 0.11), he expects the trend line to cross 0.115 C in the next several months, raising the global trend to 0.12 C per decade."
So, clearly the warming here in America is not related to greenhouse gas emissions but rather to weather patterns tied to other factors such as milankovich cycles, solar activity, and cosmic-ray driven changes in planetary albedo.
Hat tip; the Global Warming Policy Foundation
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