Polar vortices and climate change

Satellite Image Shows Entry of the Polar Vorte...
Satellite Image Shows Entry of the Polar Vortex into the Northern U.S. (Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video)

The recent cold snap in the United States was, apparently, seen by many as undermining the claims of a majority of climate scientists that human activity was gradually – but potentially catastrophically – warming the climate.

But, according to this article from the Associated Press, the most remarkable things about the cold was that it was not all that cold (merely the 55th coldest day since 1900) and that cold days appear, now, to be relatively rare (though, of course, a random element of statistical fluctuation may also have contributed to the length of the period – 17 years – since the last very cold period.)

One other thought – the cold in the US seems to have been matched by a very mild (in temperature, if not much else) winter in Western Eurasia. I still have nasturtiums – usually killed off by frosts long before now – growing in the garden. I would not go so far as to say they were thriving (the last flowers were seen in December) but they are still going…

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