Polar Vortex

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 2, 2022, 8:23

A Polar Vortex is a pressure system known for being an upper-level low-pressure area. The pressure system rotates anti-clockwise at the north pole and clockwise at the south pole.

The Polar Vortex has become popular recently as the northern hemisphere is experiencing very low temperatures during the winter season. The 2013-14 winters were the first time the northern hemisphere got this cold. This temperature was repeated in countries like the US, Russia and Canada in 2020, where these countries experienced one of the coldest winters to date.

Polar Vortex - Key Facts

The Polar Vortex has caused several climatic disruptions in the northern hemisphere countries. Some of the key points of the Polar Vortex are:

  • A burst of Arctic air led to a drastic decrease in the temperature, and the Polar Vortex brought about
  • this burst.
  • A massive area of low pressure and cold air surrounds both the poles of the Earth, forming the polar vortex. The Polar Pig is another way to call the Polar Vortex
  • On the other hand, the polar vortex frequently expands in the northern hemisphere during the winter, bringing cold air southward. This happens regularly during the winter and is commonly accompanied by extensive breakouts of Arctic air in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
  • It's also not a feature found on the surface of the Earth; instead, it's found tens of thousands of feet up in the atmosphere.
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How is Polar Vortex linked with Global Warming?

  • The global temperature has seen a rise of 0.8 degrees since the year 1880
  • The Arctic region has become warmer by about twice the usual amount
  • The temperature disparity between the North Pole and North American regions has narrowed
  • The jet stream's energy goes higher, disrupting the polar vortex and forcing it to split

Global warming has disrupted the entire atmosphere and directly impacts the Polar Vortex. This, in turn, is bringing about drastically low temperatures in countries like the US and Canada.

Duration of the Polar Vortex

  • The Polar Vortex breaks down around mid-March. This marks the end of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere and the onset of Spring
  • This occurrence impacts farming activities, ecosystems, and other weather cycles.
  • These have a great impact on things like cloud formation, ozone, etc.
  • There are times when the Polar Vortex breaks up early. In those cases, the air that comes out of it gets into the countries like the US, Canada, etc.

The Polar Vortex is a low-pressure area around the North Pole and the South Pole and brings about a cold spell in countries like the US and Canada. The Polar Vortex has been the reason for decreasing temperatures during the winters. Therefore, you should know the impact it can have on the environment.

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FAQs on Polar Vortex

Q.1. In what direction does the Polar Vortex rotate at the North Pole?

The Polar Vortex rotates in an anti-clockwise direction at the North Pole.

Q.2. In what direction does the Polar Vortex rotate at the South Pole?

The Polar Vortex rotates in a clockwise direction at the South Pole.

Q.3. Which countries were affected by the cold spell brought about by the Polar Vortex in 2020?

The US, Canada and Russia were affected by the cold spell brought about by the Polar Vortex in 2020.

Q.4. What are the adverse effects of the Polar Vortex?

The Polar Vortex brings down the temperature drastically, which creates acute weather conditions in countries.

Q.5. Does the Polar Vortex affect the Ozone Layer?

Yes, the chemical components of the Antarctic Polar Vortex have led to Ozone depletion to a great extent.