Saturday, August 24, 2019

Eagle Butte
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Cold blasts disrupt schedules and force people to stay home


The cold weather waves sweeping across North America this winter may be evidence to some global warming skeptics of misinformed scientists and untrustworthy, agenda pushing liberals.

However, according to Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center, in the article “How frigid polar vortex blasts are connected to global warming” on The Conversation.com, Francis explains how the warming of the atmosphere by 1.8 degrees in the past 150 years caused by  carbon emissions works in tandem with the natural air streams in that flow seven and 30 miles above the Northern Hemisphere.

These streams are the more familiar jet stream, which is seven miles up and flows year-round; and the stratospheric polar vortex, which normally circles the North Pole.

The increased temperatures across the world have caused the melting of polar ice caps at the North Pole. The melting of the snow and ice exposes darker surfaces of the earth in that region, which hold onto the sun’s heat and further increase the temperature in the North Pole region.

The hot and cold air pockets create the variation in pressure which moves air and creates wind. The rotation of the Earth causes the winds to move to the right. The warmer northern temperatures reduce the pressure differences between the two north and central hemisphere air streams. The reduced pressure slows the winds in the jet stream and make it more susceptible to being pushed further south, or meander, Francis said in the article.

“Large north/south undulations in the jet stream generate wave energy in the atmosphere. If they are wavy and persistent enough, the energy can travel upward and disrupt the stratospheric polar vortex. Sometimes this upper vortex becomes so distorted that it splits into two or more swirling eddies.

These “daughter” vortices tend to wander southward, bringing their very cold air with them and leaving behind a warmer-than-normal Arctic. One of these eddies will sit over North America this week, delivering bone-chilling temperatures to much of the nation,” Francis said.

The weakened jet stream has carried the Arctic temps down to the central regions of the Northern Hemisphere, but other areas of the Earth are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures, which indicate that the Earth is still on a warming trend.

The natural variability of the Earth’s atmosphere is manipulated by the effects of global temperatures increasing. We have in turn been impacted with a taste of Arctic winter weather.

Local schools are going to need to look into potentially extending the school year or replacing holidays with school days.

Dupree School Board met Monday evening and Superintendent Gail Swenson indicated that the school has had nine snow/cold days to date, and will extend the third quarter to March 20. Swenson said the school may need to add a day at the end of the year, but with another storm coming through late Wednesday and early Thursday, there is a chance that the school year may need to be extended more.

All area schools, courts, doctor’s offices, newspapers and other businesses have been impacted by the weather conditions the past few months, causing on several occasions, such as this past week, travel bans throughout CRST and on various county and state roadways.

As with any changes in the weather, people have to adjust and adapt. Most of the climate assessments, articles and climatologists have accepted that the warming temps across the Earth may be irreversible without drastic changes in human uses of energy sources that release carbon into the atmosphere.

The resistance to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources has lead many, like those who comprised the research compilation in the Fourth Climate Assessment released in November by the White House, to identify ways that the people in the United States will have to adapt to the changing weather patterns, increased variations in temperatures and natural disasters such as flooding, wildfires, and blizzards.

The House in Congress has proposed a Green New Deal package that would drastically change the ways in which the US produces and disseminates energy, and ignite infrastructure changes that keep in mind what is healthy and beneficial to both human needs and the environment.

The legislation has been around since the 1990s, but is catching more attention with promotions from younger and “green” House representatives in Congress.

Next week, we will delve deeper into the Green New Deal, what it is and what Congress thinks about it.

Read more at: phys.org/news/2019-01-frigid-polar-vortex-blasts-global.html#jCp