Extreme Temperature Diary- January 25th, 2019/ Topic: Frigid Vortex To Pay A Visit On The United States

Frigid Vortex To Pay A Visit On United States

Segueing from yesterday’s post on a torrid Australia we go from the proverbial frying pan to the fire. Well in this case no…more like from the frying pan to the ice box. As of 2019 climate change still has not brought about uniform weather conditions across the planet such that all areas are experiencing record warmth. Thank goodness, but cold outbreaks, such as the one forecast for the United States, continue to be used as props for climate change denial arguments. In my own experience dealing scientifically with extreme temperatures the ratio of daily record highs to lows is now roughly a little more than 2 to 1 across the United States. That ratio is now forecast to be about 15 to 1 by the end of the 21st century, which means that the atmosphere will continue to squeeze out record cold but in increasingly more rare events:

An updated 2016 study from Dr. Jerry Meehl indicates that the ratio from year to year will average around 15 to 1 by 2100:


One such record cold event looks like a slam dunk to happen from the Midwest into the Northeast next week looking at met models. I’ve often referred to heat domes at 500 millibars in association with record heat. Conversely we see forecast a convex cold depression at 500 millibars over the Great Lakes by next Tuesday, which is a huge extension of the polar vortex:

The above Pivotal chart shows a deep cold low of less than 488 decameters with 500 millibar height departures from average nearly off the scale.

At the surface underneath the vortex we see the following pattern:

A near 1050 millibar high pressure air mass in the northern Plains is driving less than 474 1000-500 millibar thickness values towards Chicago. Translating from met speak all this means that there is the potential for record cold air of below -20 Fahrenheit driving through the Midwest into the Northeast.

More from Bob Henson:

I’ll be putting any reports of record cold on my Extreme Temperature Diary. Well, for all those residents east of the Rockies get prepared for life threatening cold, and stay warm.


Here is some more weather and climate news from Friday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have  put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity.)

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

The Climate Guy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *