What is the Polar Vortex ?
The polar vortex is a very cold area in the upper troposphere that extends to the Stratosphere around the poles. This can grow into a very large area. It strengthens and weakens throughout the seasons and years.
So I am watching the vortex to see if it becomes warmer and then it splits or it becomes displaced. If this happens it could send us into a prolonged period of cold wintery weather.
Followers of this page will know that I watched this carefully last winter. But the vortex was very cold and the area was so large it did not warm or split.
This year the area is a lot cooler and small than it was last year. Saying that the coldest point is still minus 70 centigrade.
Towards the end of this month there could be some interesting development and this could bring a very cold period at the end of December. But this is what the models thinks is happening, so I will have to monitor the models each day to see what really is happening.
If we do get a sudden stratospheric warming and the vortex splits this could send us into a very cold winter period starting approximately three weeks later.
This last happened 2013 and it sent us into a prolonged period of winter weather lasting from mid January to the end of March.
So I will continue watching the vortex and updated you on any changes. But I must say the vortex can be very tough and stubborn to disrupt and it may not happen.
These images are of the Vortex at two different heights. You can see the upper one is warmer than the lower one. So will this warmth move down through the layers that’s the big question.
Image vortex at 1hpa Stratosphere
Upper Troposphere 10 hpa