Linking Arctic variability and change with extreme winter weather in the United States

Judah Cohen*, Laurie Agel, Mathew Barlow, Chaim I. Garfinkel, Ian White

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


The Arctic is warming at a rate twice the global average and severe winter weather is reported to be increasing across many heavily populated mid-latitude regions, but there is no agreement on whether a physical link exists between the two phenomena. We use observational analysis to show that a lesser-known stratospheric polar vortex (SPV) disruption that involves wave reflection and stretching of the SPV is linked with extreme cold across parts of Asia and North America, including the recent February 2021 Texas cold wave, and has been increasing over the satellite era. We then use numerical modeling experiments forced with trends in autumn snow cover and Arctic sea ice to establish a physical link between Arctic change and SPV stretching and related surface impacts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1116-1121
Number of pages6
Issue number6559
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
J.C. is supported by the National Science Foundation grant PLR-1901352. L.A. and M.B. received supported from NSF AGS-1657921 and NOAA NA20OAR4310424. C.I.G. and I.W. acknowledge the support of a European Research Council starting grant under the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation rogramme (grant agreement no. 677756).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved.


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