Finally A Real Scientific Consensus – Everyone Agrees That The Recent Displaced Polar Vortex Wasn't Caused By Global Warming

Image Credits: Soft

By WUWT Regular “Just The Facts”

For anyone who was witness to the absurdity of the recent warming makes it cold meme, it should come as no surprise that even ardent Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming believers are trying to distance themselves from the meme before it causes more damage. After the White House took a run at it, and the willfully gullible media, e.g. Bloomberg Businessweek, BBC and NPR lapped it up, now everyone, including the scientist credited with starting it, are walking away. Let us start with this Washington Post – Capital Weather Gang article yesterday, “Scientists: Don’t make “extreme cold” centerpiece of global warming argument“:

“It’s an intriguing theory – that recently has gotten legs: the melting Arctic – spurred by global warming – is causing the weather’s steering flow, the jet stream, to become more extreme. This extreme jet stream – rather than zipping around the world in a straight circle (right below) – is more frequently meandering off course (left below) and getting stuck in place, sending bitter, prolonged blasts of cold southward and conversely, see-sawing strong heat domes northward. It’s a fascinating paradox: global warming as the culprit for bone-chilling cold.

But more and more scientists are expressing reservations about this hypothesis, first proposed by Rutgers climate scientist Jennifer Francis and collaborators.

“It’s an interesting idea, but alternative observational analyses and simulations with climate models have not confirmed the hypothesis, and we do not view the theoretical arguments underlying it as compelling,” write five preeminent climate scientists (John Wallace, Isaac Held, David Thompson, Kevin Trenberth, and John Walsh) in a recent letter published in Science Magazine.

Elizabeth Barnes, an atmospheric scientists from Colorado State University, after an attempt to dismantle Francis’ theory last summer, published a second challenge in January.

“…the link between recent Arctic warming and increased Northern Hemisphere blocking is currently not supported by observations,” Barnes’ study concludes.”

Funny stuff and it gets even better, from this Princetonian article from two days ago, “U. lecturer argues global warming doesn’t cause polar vortex

“The polar vortex is a ring of Westerlies, prevailing winds that blow from west to east around the poles that are strongest in the winter, Wallace explained. Wallace is a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

Wallace noted that the vortex continually changes its shape, and when its lobes sweep down over temperate areas, those regions get periods of cold weather.

“I don’t think the slowing down of the polar vortex is enough to really affect behavior of the vortex very much,” he said.

He also noted that the belief that human-induced climate change could cause more extreme cold was, in fact, held by only a small minority of researchers.”

“Like Held, University Physics professor William Happer said this year’s weather is not anomalous.

“It’s exactly the same as weather we’ve had in my own lifetime many times,” Happer said. “Why should it suddenly be climate change?”

Happer explained that this year’s record lows have been emphasized in order to support the climate change “myth.”

“You know, for years we were told we’re going to fry, and the earth refused to cooperate. And so they desperately look for something else to hang their hat on,” he said, referring to supporters of the global warming theory.

Held also said this year’s extreme cold is most likely part of natural fluctuations in global climate.”

And then, to top it all off, Jennifer Francis, who first proposed the warming causes cold meme, and had previously blessed us with pearls of wisdom like;

“‘It’s basically the jet stream on a drunken path going around the Northern Hemisphere,’ explains Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis.” Grist

“Scientists tend to call the jet stream a “polar vortex,” Francis says.” Bloomberg Businessweek

has now has seen the light:

“The media certainly had a field day with the “attack of the polar vortex” in early January, and in their hyping of the story, some misquoted me (and others) by saying that climate change caused the unusual cold spell. Of course this sort of event has happened before, and this one wasn’t unprecedented.

I also agree that greenhouse-gas induced warming will reduce, not increase, the likelihood of breaking cold temperature records — the data already show this.” New York Times – Dot Earth

Gotta love when we can all agree on something. If you would like to learn more about what might actually have caused the recent “weak vortex event” and associated “cold-air outbreaks”, this article and associated comments offers a reasonably detailed analysis.


newest oldest most voted
Notify of
R. Ramirez

It must have given them a stomach cramp to have to come off the cold = warming theme.

Rhoda R

It must have given them a sever cramp in the ego to have to come off the warm makes cold position.

I guess there’s a first time for everything.


@Rhoda R
What the heck is a “sever cramp”? Is that a cramp so severe that it makes one of your arms or legs fall off?


Well, they had their headlines. The walkback will not be reported. Advanced Climate Communication, from an old handbook of The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs.

wayne Job

They really had to climb down, the average Joe in the street is laughing at them.
The average Joe was their believers, and they are losing them at a rapid rate.
Decades of propaganda down the tubes.

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

One of the True Believers I argue against where I post climate change articles, claims in her own article that the ‘polar vortex’ was ‘invented by journalists.’ And where does she get her information? From [snip][snip][snippety-snippety-snip!]s like the ones currently running from their own statements on the polar vortex.
And people wonder why I get pissed off….

Leon Brozyna

A winter that just never ends … reminds me of how the winters were back in the 50s & 60s, when I loved the cold. Now that I’m no longer young and stupid, I can’t stand this stroll down memory lane. Perhaps, when I start pushing the century mark, we’ll get milder winters again for a spell.


“And people wonder why I get pissed off….”
No, we don’t. 🙂


For those who actually believed that the cause of such a polar vortex at low latitudes was as a result of so-called “global warming”….. wow, you’re in need of some serious enlightenment. Take a look around you; observe nature.
I wonder how that 250 year old red oak 5 minutes from home handled -30C with 70km/h winds for two days. Duh! I those temps have been here before- 1000’s of times.
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Ontario all have forests well adapted for those conditions should they ever occur.
propaganda’s worst enemy is personal observation


Do all the alarmists read WUWT and BishopHill? If not then they should begin.
Crow served on a bed of greens is still crow.

Gary Pearse

Can you imagine what a consensus on warming-makes-it cold there would have been today if scientific and mathematical skeptics hadn’t been pressuring non-stop. Like UAH satellite temperature measurements, rigorous scrutiny by skeptics has constrained the latitude available to the more zealous CAGW warmers and has even made the majority of papers that used to get a pass in formerly prestigious journals, more obviously flawed even to many of those whose careers have been made with CAGW theory and whose critical faculties had been eroded.
The stress put on former science-is-settled proponents by the dismantling by skeptics of formerly-tolerated bad statistics and high school physics, notably by mild mannered, polite Steve McIntyre and Ross McKittrick, revelation of the email secrets of climategate, grey literature (Greenpeace and WWF propaganda pieces) relied upon by IPCC, and the last straw: a 17yr+ and growing hiatus in warming has contributed immeasurably to improved science. Those up to the task know the old slap dash won’t do. They know they have to look over their shoulder when putting out their work (work now much harder than when the cats were away and the mice could play) . Those whose training, knowledge and talent is little beyond the median high school teacher level have suddenly stopped their once prolific output of peer reviewed science and have taken to op eds, tv appearances, twitter sniping, and group play. Much of the recent stuff is put out by a huge oversupply of PhD candidates – woe to them a few years from now when the job market shrinks by about 97%. They will be looking for jobs as grade 9 science teachers.
Anyway, this is a seminal moment when, for the first time, the central climategate team is not silent on bad science that supports their meme. I think I should have added the Ship of Fools fiasco to the list of stressors above. It must have been hard for those now tentatively coming out to remain quiet while Turney sat in the ice bound ship looking for global warming, screwing up a season’s Antarctic research plans for international expeditions and then going home to get an award. The desperation, the hollow feeling of having spent a whole career building a false theory, will now have them scrambling and me-tooing when they get a chance to criticize CO2-climate theory. I wondered how the whole thing was going to end, but I did know there would be great throwing of colleagues under the bus in the offing.

Surly it has to be a human driven climate! if the earths climate is not driven by people then why was it so rainy and floody last weak?

I wonder if the President’s “Science Advisor” Holdren has forsaken his claim of a connection. Of coure, it was obvious after he first attempted to explain polar vortexes that he was totally
ignorant of same.


I,d say the cause for the jet steam misbehaving has more to do with whatever created that spiral in Norway . What is a ionospheric heater and what does it create ??? I would supply links but they only get deleted. One thing Russia needs while the winter games are on is good weather. How many microwave links are beaming pictures and commentary around the world via satalite ?? How many watts of power is beamed skywards?


Long-range models have the polar vortex making a return late next week. What will they say now?
huh, oh, ooooooo, look at that, did you see that…ahhhhhhhhhhh. its the vortex!

Sweet Old Bob

Gary P. at 6:05 PM…when the cat’s away the mice act like RATS…and it’s a travesty…(;p)

Nice to know that they actually recognized a ploy not working.

John Francis

Further to Gary Pearse’s observation: can you imagine how this whole issue would have gone without the internet, which has allowed the skeptics a voice? I shudder to think.

Jeff F

To give y’all a sense of what folks that are students of climate science truly believe, one of the regular contributors to a CBC forum was discussing the concept of a polar vortex a while back. This contributor is, apparently, studying climate science. His argument, spoken with much conviction, was that a weakening of the polar jet from the lack of a strong north-south temperature gradient causes a meandering jet. Therefore, this kind of event is a classic symptom of global warming. Accordingly, this is yet another piece of evidence that the warming predictions are coming true! This was, of course, followed by the obligatory “we must shut down the tar sands in Alberta”.
So, as we all know, this is the party line on the matter. My challenge, right away, based entirely on common sense, is that a meandering jet means, by definition, that its shape should change rapidly and its position should shift often, which of course, has not happened this winter. In other words, the consistency of the cold air is exactly the opposite symptom a weakened polar jet, at least according to their own theory. Of course, I was dismissed as a denier.
My point is that, regardless of the facts (or common sense), everything that lines up with predictions of AGW will become evidence to most climate scientists, irrespective of whether or not the original hypothesis is true. These folks have long since passed the point of practicing rational science. I wish that Barnes’ study would be considered. But it won’t be. Because, to be quite honest, I don’t think that the practitioners of AGW driven climate science are conducting any science – at least not in any way that I am familiar with.

John Francis says:
February 21, 2014 at 7:09 pm
Further to Gary Pearse’s observation: can you imagine how this whole issue would have gone without the internet, which has allowed the skeptics a voice? I shudder to think.
You must be new to the matrix, welcome! lol

John F. Hultquist

Nice summary; thanks.
My first university semester included the text book by Arthur N. Strahler called “Physical Geography” – the first editions were in black and white with minor color and published in 1951. Mine was a few years later and then my mother threw it out. Anyway, very cold “Polar Air” and “Polar Outbreaks” were covered and my teacher was a WWII era pilot and told stories about flying into and out of different air currents. [Strahler was a geoscience professor at Columbia University.]

Walt Allensworth

Maybe they are starting to realize they just can’t say any old shxt and have the public lap it up.


You don’t get it. The AGW opinion leaders never cared about the facts. The President and his team are still going to claim that this cold was caused by AGW. In the UK, they are still going to falsely blame their floods on AGW. The IPCC, if it came out and said that there is no significant danger from CO2, would simply be ignored.


This seems like a thinly veiled reason to say global warming, therefore, isn’t happening. Which it is. We just choose to argue other subjects to bolster our false beliefs as humans prefer to do. Artic ice melting way too fast. Seas storing up immense heat. Let’s debate those and watch. The disbelief of humans too.

The current weather patterns in the UK and USA are typical of those developed by the more meridional path of the jet stream on a cooling earth. The Fagan book “The Little Ice Age ” is a useful guide from the past to the future. The frequency of these weather patterns, e.g. for the USA the PDO related drought in California and the Polar Vortex excursions to the South will increase as cooling continues
The views of the establishment scientists in the USA and the UK Met office’s publicity in this matter reveals their continued refusal to recognize and admit the total failure of the climate models in the face of the empirical data of the last 15 years. It is time for the climate community to move to another approach based on pattern recognition in the temperature and driver data and also on the recognition of the different frequencies of different regional weather patterns on a cooling ( more meridional jet stream ) and warming (more latitudinal jet stream ) world.
For forecasts of the coming cooling based on the 60 year (PDO) and the 1000 year quasi-periodicities seen in the temperature data and the neutron count as a proxy for solar activity in general see several posts at
For a review of a 3 year update of a 30 year forecast see
For an estimate of future NH temperature trends see the latest post at


justthefactswuwt says:
February 21, 2014 at 7:01 pm
“the Polar Vortex occurs in the mesosphere and stratosphere, explain how heat, convection or otherwise in the ionosphere propagates downward into the mesosphere, when atmospheric pressure in the ionosphere is essentially nil.”
Well, since you asked, the interaction may take place lower down in the atmosphere, where the aurorae are seen and the electrons and protons traversing the D layer between the poles intersect with the descending Brewer-Dobson circulation, transferring their energy to and warming the descending gas This changes the vertical temperature profile, producing the well-known polar temperature inversions. This effect acts in parallel with stratospheric heating induced by UV absorption in the ozone layer. When present and strong, temperature inversions are stable as anyone who has experienced LA smog can attest. The return flow from the Brewer-Dobson circulation is diverted from the surface to the altitude of the radiating zone, where by warming the upper troposphere it warms the surface as well, by increasing the temperature in the region that anchors the lapse rate. The polar vortex is strengthened, sealing the arctic cold inside the so-called ozone hole. And we get Global Warming, only CO2 has nothing to do with it.
There is tons of evidence for all of the aspects I have mentioned, except that the behavior of the return flow of the Brewer-Dobson circulation is speculative.

Polar vortex controlled by Magnetosphere activity and solar wind…


Francis theory as explained by her on YouTube is simply great… for a good laugh. She manages to pack so much meteorological misunderstanding that she should deserve some medal for that.


Jeff F @ 7:09p.m.: The argument from your true CAGW believer was the exact argument parrotted by Obama’s “Science Czar” John Holdren. This is utter nonsense. All the great arctic outbreaks of the past featured a meridional jet stream that brought Siberian air over the Pole and drove it southward into North America. The great winters of 1936, 1963, 1977 and 1979 all had this happen repeatedly.


@Dr Norman Page
“drought in California”
Pet peeve: 3/4ths of the state of California, including both of it’s megalopolises is officially desert. The “drought” in California is more than 10000 years old. The only reason California has water problems is that the Federal government built massive water projects to bring CA water from out of state and gives that water to Californians at 1/10th of the real cost of delivery, encouraging massive over development and farming of water intensive crops in a desert.

Jeff F

@Bill: It doesn’t seem like you are interested in the merits of the science that is being discussed herein. Even if you are given the fact that the earth is warming and that the deep ocean is somehow accumulating massive amounts of heat (which many here would fundamentally disagree with), there is still little to no direct evidence that these would be caused by the additional CO2 added to the atmosphere by mankind’s activities. Note that a well established causal link, shown through the use of prediction and validation is mandatory in science.
All that you are describing are the effects of a heretofore unproven hypothesis. You are very simply confusing evidence with establishing cause and effect. Put another way, there are a great many ways that the effects (if they are in fact occurring) that you discussed could have arisen. Human knowledge of the behavior of the atmosphere over long time scales is insufficient to pinpoint a cause for these effects. Any other conclusion that comes from climate science on this matter at this time is just hubris.

Leon Brozyna

The cyclical nature of climate, not global warming, is what’s at play here. We’ve got a neighborhood that got flooded last month for the first time in over 35 years … folks had paid off their mortgages and let flood insurance lapse when the nearby creek flooded the area as a result of an ice dam. Over time, institutional memories fade and hard lessons are unlearned. It’s not just the Great Lakes that are frozen … so too are the creeks and streams that drain into the lakes. The last couple days, as temps went above freezing again and rain fell, everyone’s attention turned again to frozen creeks and streams … this time acting to break up the ice to prevent the build up of ice dams and the resulting flooding. Wish this global warming religion was for real because this cold really sucks.

Jeff F

@Karl: It is precisely this notion of “driving” the cold air south that makes me, intuitively, align with the argument that you presented – due to the persistence of the pattern and the distance that the cold air penetrated southward. What amazed me is that some can be presented an argument like the “meandering jet” concept and accept that it causes a persistent pattern when there is a fundamental flaw in the logic.


Well when you guys erase my comments and then wright me a comment telling me there is no causal link to co2 and the atmosphere then it is suspect. Especially since science has shown over and over the link between co2 and ozone depletion.

The link between the polar vortex and solar activity is much more complex than suggested. When solar activity is weak the occasional Earth directed CME can be far more influential than when solar activity is strong. It depends on the timing. If the sun’s magnetic field strength is weak at the time that the CME hits Earth then according to NASA the sun’s magnetic field lines and Earth’s magnetic field lines combine and channel greatly increased amounts of charged particles into the ionosphere and then later into the mesosphere and stratosphere above the North Pole. Two days after the CME of March 15, 2013 the solar magnetic field strength was very weak and the resultant combined magnetic field lines caused so much plasma to be absorbed that the stratosphere above the north pole warmed by some 50 deg C. The AO went below -5 for 3 days (March 20-22) and this has happened only 4 other times since the AO has been recorded (Feb 1969, March 1970, Dec 2009 and Feb 2010). This indicates that the polar vortex had basically stopped and the near polar jet streams then weakened substantially leaving cold air to flow over many parts of the northern hemisphere. An enormous high pressure system also formed over Greenland. It was biggest high ever recorded over Greenland and only very slightly less than a highest high pressure system ever recorded (Siberia Dec 31, 1968).
I think there is much more to learn about the mechanisms that influence polar vortexes before we will understand them.


Winter returns to Europe. Polar vortex will be inhibited over North America.

What may be over looked here is as the Earth cools from the lack of sunspot activity, no real observations spring the first post mini-Ice Age; minimum of the 1800s; and the preceding period period to the Mini-Ice Age, is the atmospheric events that took place to absorb heat out of the winter months and strengthen the impact of Global Cooling.
What events lead up to a Mini-Ice Age? Increased glacier activity. Reduced Topography capture of abundance carbons in the atmosphere by the oceans and Polar Ice Caps to name a few.
This moving Vortex may become a common characteristic of global cooling through out the next two decades.


Gary Pearse states: “The desperation, the hollow feeling of having spent a whole career building a false theory, will now have them scrambling and me-tooing when they get a chance to criticize CO2-climate theory.”
Is there a counter document to that which many of us signed against AGW? If not, there should be a central repository built somewhere where the names of the “97%” are associated with their pro AGW statements / articles / documentaries / inane blathering / etc. so that they can’t get away with “me-tooing” their way back to reality.

Jeff F

“I think there is much more to learn about the mechanisms that influence polar vortexes before we will understand them”. Truer words were never spoken. In fact, they should be spoken about many more elements of climatology. Once the idea that CO2 was the global thermostat was entrenched by Lacis et. al., a lot of lazy scholarship ensued.

William McClenney

One is left to wonder what an end-extreme interglacial glacial-inception looks like……?

Mac the Knife

Climatologist acknowledge reality, admit that warming has stopped and is not responsible for 17 years of cooling….
Wow! Wow!!!! I’m shocked… shocked, I tell you! Scientist acknowledge reality and challenge climate model’s irrational outputs.
A thin ray of hope has lanced through the national/global consciousness…… a sharp piercing of mann’s false dogma! Pray that this trend of rational thought continues…


When I read the first claim I wondered what was the climate like in the USA last time the North West Passage was open?

Will Nelson

justthefactswuwt says:
February 21, 2014 at 10:22 pm
Nice diagram of the atmospheric layers. I think the Anatov AN2 is a nice touch.
So this polar bear vortex takes our nice winter weather and sends it off to where no one understands or appreciates it. Florida says, “For six hours a couple weeks ago we were colder than you”. How does that make us who put up with all day sun for most of the summer so we can finally get back to a nice winter in the fall make us feel any better?