Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The localised US “global warming hole” seems to have taken an excursion to Northern Africa, Europe, Russia, Asia and Great Britain over the last few weeks, but this hasn’t stopped climate explainers from trying to fit all that cold and snow into their global warming narrative.
Q&A: What does all this snow mean for climate change?
Why are scientists worried about freezing temperatures in winter, is the beast from the east a freak event – and what is the polar vortex?
Q: What are they worried about?
A: In the past couple of weeks, there has been a heatwave in the sunless Arctic even though the northern polar region has not had any sunlight since October. At times it has been warmer than London, Paris or New York.
Q: So why worry? I feel sorry for the polar bears, but nobody lives in the north pole.
A: There is another theory about what is happening that could have much wider implications. The biggest concern is that this might indicate a weakening or collapse of the polar vortex.
Q: Could it be connected to the blizzards that many people are experiencing?
A: In December, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned Arctic sea ice was declining at the fastest rate in at least 1,500 years with an impact that would be felt far outside the region and affect the lives of every single American. One of the research team, Jeremy Mathis, compared the Arctic to the planet’s refrigerator.
“But the door to that refrigerator has been left open,” he said. “And the cold is spilling out, cascading throughout the northern hemisphere.”
See, a nice simple explanation – the world is warming, but much of the North is feeling really cold at the moment, because someone left the fridge door open.