Getting too warm…sent the Polar Vortex down into North America, Europe and Asia

It was…temperatures high in the stratosphere above Siberia. In the first week of January, they increased from about minus 92 degrees Fahrenheit to 8 degrees Fahrenheit. While these “sudden stratospheric warming” events happen to some extent every year, this one is categorized as a major event and is less common.

The mass of extremely warm air threw the freezing polar vortex out of balance, shoving it off its North Pole axis so forcefully that it in effect split in two, as if growing a pair of legs: one over North America and one over Europe…

The interaction between disruption to the stratosphere and weather in the troposphere is still not precisely understood. But when the vortex in the stratosphere is disrupted—split, displaced, or elongated—it can push the jet stream below it south, bringing Arctic air into cities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

What this article was predicting over a week ago has landed in our lap. And many others in the Northern Hemisphere. Read the article for the complex and predictable parts of the process that dropped Arctic temperatures in lands further south.

Chile earthquake altered Earth’s axis, shortened day

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Saturday’s Chile earthquake was so powerful that it likely shifted an Earth axis and shortened the length of a day.

By speeding up Earth’s rotation, the magnitude 8.8 earthquake—the fifth strongest ever recorded, according to the USGS—should have shortened an Earth day by 1.26 millionths of a second, according to new computer-model calculations by geophysicist Richard Gross of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

For comparison, the same model estimated that the magnitude 9 Sumatra earthquake in December 2004 shortened the length of a day by 6.8 millionths of a second.

Gross also estimates that the Chile earthquake shifted Earth’s figure axis by about three inches (eight centimeters)…

Likewise, as a portion of Earth’s mass drew in ever so slightly and quickly during the Chile earthquake, the planet began spinning a bit quicker.

To use a more vulgate analogy, the Earth’s bunghole – puckered.

Thanks, Mr. Fusion