Energy & Environment

Arctic warming led to colder winters, Texas freeze: study

Residents in Austin, Texas walk amid bitter cold
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A new study published on Thursday showed warming from climate change in the Arctic led to colder winters in the U.S. and contributed to the deadly freeze that occurred in Texas in February.

The study published in the journal Science concluded that a polar vortex has been stretched by warmer weather, causing the cold air normally trapped in the Arctic to move towards other parts of the world.

We use observational analysis to show that a lesser-known stratospheric polar vortex (SPV) disruption that involves wave reflection and stretching of the SPV is linked with extreme cold across parts of Asia and North America, including the recent February 2021 Texas cold wave, and has been increasing over the satellite era,” the study says.

The freeze that occurred in Texas in February devastated the state, which was not equipped to handle the extreme weather, killing more than 170 people and causing billions of dollars in damage.

“It is counterintuitive that a rapidly warming Arctic can lead to an increase in extreme cold in a place as far south as Texas, but the lesson from our analysis is to expect the unexpected with climate change,” study lead author Judah Cohen said, The Associated Press reported.

Climate scientists have been debating if there is a “physical link” between the warming of the Arctic and the increasing severe winter weather that has been reported in some parts of the world.

The Arctic is currently warming twice as fast as the global average, with Cohen showing how the warming can stretch and weaken the polar vortex that keeps the cold air in the Arctic. 

Tags Climate change in the Arctic Polar Vortex Texas freeze

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