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You've heard about the Carbon Tax, that has never seriously gotten off the ground here in the U.S. -- well Say Hello! to the Vortex Tax, arriving soon in a mailbox near you!

'Polar vortex' costs billions. Open next fuel bill with care.

January's frigid 'polar vortex' may have cost the US economy as much as $5 billion. Meanwhile, consumers are cranking up furnaces and bracing for their February utility bills.

by Noelle Swan, Staff writer, -- Jan 24, 2014

The polar vortex that swept through much of the United States earlier this month may have cost the economy as much as $5 billion, according to Planalytics, a research firm in Berwyn, Pa., and London that tracks the effect of weather on the economy.

In addition to damaged crops, grounded airline flights, disrupted deliveries, and lost work hours, cold weather can also diminish consumer spending and stress household utility budgets.

While consumers across the board could see higher heating bills, that toll will likely be felt most strongly by low-income households that rely on home-heating assistance from the state or federal government, says Gilbert Metcalf, an economics professor at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. “Those budgets don’t expand when we hit a cold snap,” he adds.

Well, at least Scientists are taking these stuck weather patterns more seriously.  Afterall you can't continue overheat the Arctic for decades, and NOT expect the climate systems to react in some physical-reaction way ... eventually ...

Rapidly warming Arctic may be causing our polar-vortex winter

Arctic warming is driving persistent extreme weather patterns, a new theory advanced at the AAAS scientific meeting in Chicago Saturday suggests.

by Kate Allen Science and Technology reporter, -- Feb 15 2014

The theory, which Francis presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Chicago on Saturday, is still contentious. “This is a very new research topic . . . and it has ended up triggering a lot of discussion in our scientific community,” she said.

The controversial part of the theory is what Francis proposes happens next.

Like water running down a mountain, a strong jet stream is more likely to run in a relatively straight line, pushing past blockages the way a mountain stream would rush over rocks. But a weaker jet stream is more likely to meander, like a stream flowing across a plain, Francis said: it doesn’t have the same force, so it takes a wavier path.

[Rutgers' Atmospheric Scientist Jennifer A.] Francis proposes that big waves in the jet stream are holding weather patterns in place for longer: as the stream takes longer to pass, the big peaks and troughs trap systems over one region.

Here's a Video that explains the new theory from Dr. Francis of Rutgers University, one that claims as the Arctic Jet Stream continues to meander, like a weakening top -- the weather systems in the mid-latitudes, will become more entrenched, more extreme, and more costly, in terms of everyday fees for things like heat, food, and water.

Jennifer Francis - Understanding the Jetstream (and Rossby Waves)

link to clip

Published on Feb 26, 2013 -- by rustneversleeps3

A short review of how the jetstream and Rossby waves work, and some emerging indications that the dynamics may be changing in a warming world.

Here's a Technical Paper that explains the new theory from Dr. Francis of Rutgers University, based on the physics and data evidence -- that she and other Scientists have observed and documented:

Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes

Jennifer A. Francis[1] and Stephen J. Vavrus[2]

accepted 21 February 2012; published 17 March 2012.

[1] Arctic amplification (AA) – the observed enhanced warming in high northern latitudes relative to the northern hemisphere – is evident in lower-tropospheric temperatures and in 1000-to-500 hPa thicknesses. Daily fields of 500 hPa heights from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Reanalysis are analyzed over N. America and the N. Atlantic to assess changes in north-south (Rossby) wave characteristics associated with AA and the relaxation of poleward thickness gradients. Two effects are identified that each contribute to a slower eastward progression of Rossby waves in the upper-level flow: 1) weakened zonal winds, and 2) increased wave amplitude. These effects are particularly evident in autumn and winter consistent with sea-ice loss, but are also apparent in summer, possibly related to earlier snow melt on high-latitude land. Slower progression of upper-level waves would cause associated weather patterns in mid-latitudes to be more persistent, which may lead to an increased probability of extreme weather events that result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves.

Citation: Francis, J. A., and S. J. Vavrus (2012), Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L06801, doi:10.1029/2012GL051000.

1. Introduction

[2] During the past few decades the Arctic has warmed approximately twice as rapidly as has the entire northern hemisphere [Screen and Simmonds, 2010; Serreze et al., 2009], a phenomenon called Arctic Amplification (AA). The widespread warming resulted from a combination of increased greenhouse gases and positive feedbacks involving sea ice, snow, water vapor, and clouds [Stroeve et al., 2012]. The area of summer sea ice lost since the 1980s would cover over 40% of the contiguous United States. As autumn freezeup begins, the extra solar energy absorbed during summer in these vast new expanses of open water is released to the atmosphere as heat, thus raising the question of not whether the large-scale atmospheric circulation will be affected, but how? While global climate models project that the frequency and intensity of many types of extreme weather will increase as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere [Meehl et al., 2007], this analysis presents evidence suggesting that enhanced Arctic warming is one of the causes.

Knowing How Climate Change happens, is kind of handy -- is it not?

Almost as handy as the "Why" it happens.  Especially when you get one of those unexpected and unbudgeted-for climate-extreme Bills.

Hello Climate Change! ... we've been waiting for you.

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