Polar Vortex, Polar Vortex, Polar Vortex! Sick of it yet? It’s the first media sensationalized word of 2014 and probably has begun to bring you anxiety, resentment, and a deep desire for the warmth of spring. Yet, what does the Polar Vortex really have to do with climate change?

From icy streets and traffic jams, freezing pipes and high energy bills, to snowstorm after snowstorm, the bitter cold this winter is relentless in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. Meanwhile on the west coast, it’s been warm and dry, extremely dry with drought conditions in California causing increasing water issues.

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This winter has become the season of the Polar Vortex. However, it is also the season of the all too familiar cry, “It’s cold, therefore global warming doesn’t exist” — something that is much more predicable and frequent than the vortex itself. For some people, delineating between weather and climate is impossible and every winter when the first flakes fly it automatically disproves to them that the earth is not warming.

So it may be bizarre but this coast to coast extreme weather pattern can actually be explained! In the video below, Director of Meteorology at Weather Underground Jeff Masters PhD, as  well as Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University, discuss what the Polar Vortex is and whether or not it’s related to climate change and global warming.

When something becomes as sensationalized in the media as the Polar Vortex has become, it’s a good idea to turn to the experts and learn about what it all really means. So check out the video below to learn why you’re shivering on your way to work everyday. You might just be surprised by some of the warmer spots in the world, too! Hint: Anyone want to go to Alaska for spring break?

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