POLAR VORTEX (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     9th April 2024        
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Context: Recently, scientists made the intriguing discovery that the Earth's polar vortex has undergone a mysterious reversal.

Polar Vortex

  • About: refers to the circulation of strong, high-altitude winds in the stratosphere during winter in the hemisphere facing away from the sun.
  • Emergence: It emerges during winter when the pole is tilted away from the sun, causing darkness and cooling in the polar stratosphere.
  • Temperature Dynamics: The cooling of the polar stratosphere in contrast to the warmer tropical stratosphere creates a temperature gradient that drives the polar vortex.
  • Formation of Arctic Polar Vortex: The resultant temperature contrast leads to the formation of robust west-to-east winds in the stratosphere, known as the Arctic polar vortex.
  • Impacts of Polar Vortex Variability: Under certain weather conditions, the polar vortex can weaken and expand, allowing frigid Arctic air to spill southward into regions unaccustomed to such cold.
  • Consequences of Polar Vortex Disruptions: This can trigger extreme cold snaps, snowstorms, and other severe winter weather events in areas like North America, Europe, and Asia.
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