I’m glad our President was at least somewhat forceful when he stated in his 2014 State of the Union that “climate change is real.” And to those fools who say “Nuh-uh! It’s snowing in Atlanta!”, record warm temperatures are occurring in Alaska and there may be a scientific explanation:
A good measure of the magnitude of jet stream irregularity is the Arctic Oscillation, an indicator of short-term climate variability that, roughly speaking, tracks the strength of the jet stream. In extreme cases, like this week, the circumpolar jet stream—which typically locks the coldest of the cold air up by the North Pole where it belongs—can slow down and spill Arctic frigidity southward. The current Arctic Oscillation is even more negative than during the first polar vortex cold snap, earlier this month.
Research hints that this type of pattern can be triggered by the recent massive loss in Arctic sea ice due to the effects of human-induced climate change. One recent study which attempted to explain this counterintuitive “Warm Arctic—Cold Continents” phenomenon during similar patterns in the 2009-‘10 and 2010-‘11 winters called it “a major challenge” to understand, though the pattern is “consistent with continued loss of sea ice over the next 40 years.” Bottom line: Something weird is going on, but scientists are still trying to nail down exactly what it is.