Images of frozen fountains and bundled up commuters have flashed across the news this week from all over the United States. Meteorologists are talking about a polar vortex bringing many states sub zero temperatures. Naturally as a children’s science book publisher, we need to know why?
After some research we found that the polar vortex does not exactly live up to its ominous name. It is not an arctic tornado, a destructive winter storm, or anything that we can see with our eyes. It turns out the polar vortex is just very cold air that is moving in a different direction!
High up in the atmosphere this cold air is a permanent weather pattern that keeps the North Pole frigid. Occasionally this pattern weakens and plunges into the United States causing the jet stream to bring extremely cold air as far as the Southern states. Much of the Midwest and Northeast has been hit hard with sub zero temperatures, but weather patterns are constantly changing and new temperatures are just around the corner!
For more in-depth information visit Weather Underground http://www.wunderground.com/news/polar-vortex-plunge-science-behind-arctic-cold-outbreaks-20140106