A Late Polar Vortex Could Bring Record Cold Temperatures to Northeastern U.S.
It will be warmer in Fairbanks, Alaska, than it will be in New York City, Philadelphia, Cleveland and even Atlanta this weekend, AccuWeather predicted Wednesday.
The reason? The polar vortex is heading south, bringing with it potentially record-low temperatures for May, CNBC explained. BAM Weather meteorologist Ryan Maue said that more and more scientists are beginning to link weather swings like this one with the climate crisis.
"This is not just some random one-off weather event but an obvious trend toward hyper-extreme atmospheric circulations outside the normal bounds of what we typically experience in May," Maue told CNBC. "It's not always hotter and drier with rapid climate change, but also colder and wetter."
One of the big weather themes later this week and weekend will be the warm temperatures in the West and cold temper… https://t.co/cUSHa7kTAA— National Weather Service (@National Weather Service)1588717634.0
The cold weather is coming because part of the polar vortex will separate from its circulation over the Arctic and dip down over the eastern Great Lakes and New England, The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang explained.
This will likely break records for upper-air temperatures, leading to readings of negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit at the 500-millibar level (about 18,000 feet above sea level) over upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania, and Lakes Erie and Ontario.
"Of course, no one lives at the 500 millibar pressure level in this region, but meteorologists look to this temperature as an indication of how unusually cold is an air mass," Matthew Cappucci wrote for The Washington Post. "With air that cold upstairs, it's no surprise that surface temperatures are going to be chilly as well."
On the surface, record-low daily maximums could reach Boston, Providence, Rhode Island and Hartford, Connecticut. Other places could also report record lows for May, as temperatures in the mid-20s are forecast for Detroit and Pittsburgh, CNBC reported.
Cold temperatures will be most extreme east of the Rockies, over the Great Lakes and in the Northeast, where they could be as much as 20 to 25 degrees below seasonal highs.
However, it could freeze as far south as northern Georgia and in the higher elevations in the Carolinas, The Washington Post reported.
Parts of the Southeast are facing the risk of a freeze this weekend as record-challenging cold air plunges into the… https://t.co/R7sLIY9XjQ— AccuWeather (@AccuWeather)1588771982.0
It could also snow over the Appalachian Trail from North Carolina to Maine and in New England. While May snows have been recorded with similar weather patterns in places like Buffalo, New York and Pittsburgh, this weekend's snowfall is predicted to be more widespread, AccuWeather reported. It could cover a 500-mile stretch from Ohio to New England, which AccuWeather said was unusual.
Scientists are investigating whether the Arctic's rapid warming is making it more unstable, pushing cold air further south, CNBC reported. A 2018 study found that there had been more times when the polar vortex had weakened in the winter over the last 37 years.
"The cold is very unusual," Maue told CNBC. "It is difficult to pinpoint the cause-and-effect or correlation-causation with extreme weather events and climate change. But changes in the behavior of the jet stream are becoming more accepted by scientists looking for physical reasoning behind what we are seeing on weather maps."
While the cold snap may make social distancing easier, it could be a challenge for those who have been prompted by coronavirus lockdowns to try home gardening.
"Get ready to cover or bring in any sensitive plants you bought during the surge of warm weather this past weekend," Paul Pastelok, AccuWeather's top long-range forecaster, said.
He warned that the cold temperatures could have a negative impact on new or sensitive plants, orchards and vineyards.
By Kenny Stancil
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As we reach the official end of hurricane season, 2020 will be one for the record books. Looking back at these long, surprising, sometimes downright crazy past six months (seven if you count when the first named storms actually started forming), there are many noteworthy statistics and patterns that drive home the significance of this hurricane season, and the ways climate change may have contributed to it.
A summary infographic showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms predicted from NOAA's 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. NOAA
The updated 2020 Atlantic hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms. NOAA
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By Dana Drugmand
An unprecedented climate lawsuit brought by six Portuguese youths is to be fast-tracked at Europe's highest court, it was announced today.
The European Court of Human Rights said the case, which accuses 33 European nations of violating the applicants' right to life by disregarding the climate emergency, would be granted priority status due to the "importance and urgency of the issues raised."
‘Protect Our Future’<p>Cláudia Agostinho (21), Catarina Mota (20), Martim Agostinho (17), Sofia Oliveira (15), André Oliveira (12) and Mariana Agostinho (8) are <a href="https://www.desmogblog.com/2020/09/03/youth-climate-lawsuit-portugal-33-european-countries" target="_blank">bringing the case</a> with nonprofit law firm Global Legal Action Network (<span style="background-color: initial;">GLAN</span>), arguing that none of the countries have sufficiently ambitious targets to cut their emissions.</p><p>Portugal recently sweltered through its <a href="https://www.ipma.pt/pt/media/noticias/news.detail.jsp?f=/pt/media/noticias/textos/resumo-clima-julho-20.html" target="_blank">hottest July in 90 years</a> and has seen a rise in devastating heatwaves and wildfires over recent years due to rising temperatures. Four of the applicants live in Leiria, one of the regions worst-hit by the forest fires that killed more than 120 people in 2017. </p><p>Responding to the development, André Oliveira, 12, said: "It gives me lots of hope to know that the judges in the European Court of Human Rights recognise the urgency of our case." </p><p>"But what I'd like the most would be for European governments to immediately do what the scientists say is necessary to protect our future. Until they do this, we will keep on fighting with more determination than ever."</p>
‘Highly Significant'<p>The decision represents a "highly significant" step, <a href="https://www.glanlaw.org/about-us" target="_blank">GLAN</a> Director Dr. Gearóid Ó Cuinn said in a <a href="https://youth4climatejustice.org/" target="_blank">press release</a>.</p><p>"This is an appropriate response from the Court given the scale and imminence of the threat these young people face from the climate emergency," he added. </p><p>By suing the 33 countries all together, the youths aim to compel these national governments to act more aggressively on climate through a single court order, which would potentially be more effective than pursuing separate lawsuits or lobbying policymakers in each country.</p><p>If successful, the defendant countries would be legally bound not only to ramp up emissions cuts, but also to tackle overseas contributions to climate change including those of their multinational enterprises.</p>
‘Major Hurdle’<p>The <a href="https://youth4climatejustice.org/the-case/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">countries targeted</a> include all of the European Union member states as well as Norway, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, none of which are currently aligned with <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/paris-agreement">Paris agreement</a> target to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) and pursue a limit of 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F).<a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> </a></p><p><a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Action Tracker rates</a> most of Europe as "insufficient" in terms of its emissions reduction policies based on the Paris target, while Ukraine, Turkey and Russia are assessed as "critically insufficient" – meaning they are on track for a warming of 4 degrees C or higher.</p><p>The European Union has pledged to slash its emissions by <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/eu-climate-action/2030_ctp_en" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">at least 55 percent by 2030</a>. But the Portuguese youth plaintiffs are calling for cuts of at least 65 percent by 2030, a level that <a href="http://www.caneurope.org/energy/climate-energy-targets" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">European climate campaigners say</a> is necessary to meet the 1.5 degrees warming limit.</p><p> The 33 countries must each respond to the youths' complaint by the end of February, before lawyers representing the plaintiffs will respond to the points of defense. </p><p>"Nothing less than a 65 percent reduction by 2030 will be enough for the EU member states to comply with their obligations to the youth-applicants and indeed countless others," Gerry Liston, legal officer with GLAN, said in a press release.</p><p>"These brave young people have cleared a major hurdle in their pursuit of a judgment which compels European governments to accelerate their climate mitigation efforts."</p><p><span></span><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://www.desmogblog.com/2020/11/29/court-advances-landmark-youth-climate-lawsuit-against-33-european-nations" target="_blank">DeSmog</a>. </em></p>
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