The Science Behind Wyoming’s Sub Zero Temperatures
The cold snap that Wyoming is currently feeling is enough to keep us inside and maybe complaining or joking about it for a while. But it is nothing new, and will not last all that long.
Do you wonder why and how do we get these big pushes of Extremes cold? Let's have a look at what the science tells us.
The cold air near the North Pole is surrounded by high altitude, very fast winds. That jet stream tends to keep the cold up there.
Air is constantly changing and moving. Warm air rises and cold air falls. This makes waves in the atmosphere. Those waves will change the direction of the jet stream and even cause it to wobble, bow, or slow down.
Think of it like having a spinning top, as the top slows down it begins to meander and wobble. As the jet stream wobbles it stretches out in places, allowing cold air from the North Pole to move down toward us. Other weather systems below it might help it along.
This cold blast in not a lot of fun. But we have had worse.
Looking at the long term picture, the climate is always changing. There have been many times in Earths past where most of the planet was under as much as a mile of ice. There have been times where even Wyoming was tropical. Currently, there is a lot of debate in the scientific community as to if the planet will warm up more than it is now or if it will cool down again. For now, this is just a frigid week that we have to make it through.