The Polar Vortex explained in augmented reality

1 year 2 weeks 4 days ago Tuesday, January 29 2019 Jan 29, 2019 Tuesday, January 29, 2019 10:59:00 PM CST January 29, 2019 in Weather
By: Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist
loading

IS THE POLAR VORTEX NEW?

This very real phenomenon was turned into a buzzword in 2014 and has since been used out of context on the regular. The polar vortex is real, but it can’t technically hit us at the Earth’s surface. Let me explain.

THE ATMOSPHERE

The level of our atmosphere where weather such as clouds occurs is called the troposphere and it can extend 7 miles above the Earth’s mean sea level. The next level of the atmosphere is called the stratosphere. This level of the atmosphere is generally too stable for convection to occur, meaning clouds don’t develop here, the ozone layer is also located in the stratosphere. However, there are some systems in the stratosphere that can affect the troposphere. One of these systems is the polar vortex, generally located in the lower stratosphere.

THE POLAR VORTEX

A vortex is circulating air. Over the north pole the polar vortex will circulate counterclockwise; rotating clockwise over the south pole. This circulating arctic air can mix down into the upper troposphere at times. When this happens, cold and dense air forms below, reaching us down at the surface.

The upper-level jet stream in the troposphere will then act as a barrier and wall-in the cold air. However, the jet steam can get wavy and form notches. When this happen it breaks off part of the cold air and pushes it further south, into areas that don’t commonly experience such cold air. Often, when a batch of this cold air breaks off and pushes into the lower 48, it is because of a notch of warm air surging into Alaska.

CONCLUSION

While this brutally cold air at the surface is due to the overarching polar vortex, the polar vortex itself never actually reaches the surface. The cold dense air we feel on Earth’s surface is a side effect of the constantly spinning polar vortexes miles above the poles.

For more fun weather facts and explainers be sure to follow KOMU 8 chief meteorologist Kenton Gewecke on Facebook and Twitter.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - Members of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri will spend two days at the capitol,... More >>
13 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 7:34:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Members of Rock Bridge High School’s Students Demand Action group hosted a forum Sunday where local leaders answered... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 7:07:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
LACEDE COUNTY- One teen died and three others suffered injuries in a single-car-accident Saturday afternoon. The driver of the... More >>
15 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 5:48:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
VIENNA- On Thursday, February 13, Task Force Officers, Vienna Police Department, and the Maries County Sheriff’s Office executed a search... More >>
16 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 4:43:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
ST. LOUIS COUNTY (AP) — Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting last week, and authorities... More >>
17 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 4:00:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
HALLSVILLE- A house fire broke out off North Frink Road Sunday afternoon. Firefighters found a fire in the attic... More >>
19 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 2:19:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY — Linn Creek, Missouri Police Chief Greg Berry was arrested Saturday afternoon by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.... More >>
21 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 11:32:00 AM CST February 16, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA — Two women were seriously injured after head-on collision between a Prius and a semi-truck early Sunday morning, according... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 10:41:00 AM CST February 16, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A new route and a new bus shelter will be added at the intersection of Rice Road and... More >>
23 hours ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 10:00:00 AM CST February 16, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Thousands of people and more than 300 gallons of chili filled the Expo Center Saturday for the 15th... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 7:50:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Runners braved the cold weather Saturday morning for the R.A.M.S 5K. R.A.M.S is a nonprofit MU organization... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 6:44:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
FESTUS (AP) — Police in eastern Missouri say a 73-year-old man has been shot to death, and his 42-year-old son... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 5:28:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - One of Missouri State Highway Patrol's vehicles was struck by a semitruck late Thursday night. MSHP shared... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 4:44:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Don Allard, who served as Columbia’s city manager for 12 years, died Wednesday in Arvada, Colorado, after a... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 4:10:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Four candidates are running for three open seats on the Columbia School Board. Although there are less... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 3:41:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Local nonprofit Building Community Bridges held its monthly community day Saturday afternoon. Saturday's event had a... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 3:00:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — A jury has awarded $265 million in punitive damages to a Missouri peach grower who sued... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 2:41:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA -The mid-Missouri Harley-Davidson hosted its monthly event today to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 15 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Saturday, February 15, 2020 2:36:00 PM CST February 15, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 44°
10am 46°
11am 48°
12pm 49°
1pm 51°