Polar vortex: Whatever happened to global warming?

  • Chicago frozen lakeside
  • So whatever happened to global warming?
  • That’s certainly what President Donald Trump wanted to know when he tweeted this a couple of days ago:
  • There is no question the Midwest is cold – very cold.
  • Just check the advice from the US National Weather Service. It has warned that the current low temperatures could easily “freeze the flesh off your bones”.
  • Don’t leave home if you can avoid it, the NWS in Iowa urged, and if you do have to go out, “avoid taking deep breaths; minimise talking”.
  • Meanwhile the internet is heaving under images of snow and ice.
  • My favourites include the icy steam pouring off lake Lake Michigan and the thousands of people who have been doing the “hot water challenge”.But this wonderfully surreal image of a fork frozen in a cascade of noodles wins for me.
  • Is the president right?
  • So, is this brutal cold snap evidence that global warming is faltering?
  • Sadly, the answer is no, as one of the president’s own agencies quickly pointed out in an apparent response to his tweet.
  • “Winter storms don’t prove that global warming isn’t happening” tweeted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • The NOAA included a link to an article which suggests that severe snowstorms may even become more likely as the world warms.
  • You have probably already heard that the current brutal weather is thanks to something called the “polar vortex”.
  • Image copyright Getty Images