Jan 23, 2014

‘Big chill’ expected to stay until 2040 #polarvortex

"What happens as the cooling begins, the jet stream moves from west to east in very large waves, but the amplitude, that is the north-south orientation of those waves, increases. It's called a meridional pattern of weather, and that's why you see the record colds that you had in the U.S. recently, but also record warms," Ball explained.

"Look at eastern Australia as an example, or Siberia earlier in the winter. So if you imagine these waves where you've got cold air pushing toward the equator in one area, you've also got warmer air pushing further toward the poles in other areas. That's why you've got this increasing variability of the weather," said Ball, who noted that history tells us exactly what these conditions mean.

"If you look at the historic record, and I mean going over 10,000 years, this pattern occurs as the earth starts its cooling down process. And that's what's going to happen," he said. "We're going to be in this cooling until at least 2040."

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