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1) What is a polar vortex? Examine whether the extreme chill seen in USA is related to climate change?(250 words)

Topic – changes in critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

1) What is a polar vortex? Examine whether the extreme chill seen in USA is related to climate change?(250 words)


Why this question

The extreme chill seen in USA has been in the news. Also the tweets of a famous president has questioned the link between such extreme chill and global warming. We need to be aware of the reasons and how global warming is cooling the planet.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what polar vortex is and thereafter bring out its impact on weather and how is it related to climate change.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the extreme cold weather in USA and explain that they have been caused due to polar vortex.


  • Explain that polar vortex is found around the north pole. It’s a band of strong winds, high up in the atmosphere that keeps bitterly cold air locked around the Arctic region. This circulation isn’t considered a single storm, or even a weather pattern as such.
  • Explain that Occasionally, the vortex can become distorted and meander far further south than normal. The phenomenon became widely known to Americans during a particularly frigid spell in 2014, when the media first started using the term “polar vortex”. It was also a factor in the “bomb cyclone” that battered the US east coast last year. This time, the polar vortex has broken in two, bringing the coldest conditions in decades to the midwest US. On Wednesday, Chicago was 10 degrees F colder than Antarctica.
  • Discuss how is it related to climate change – Scientists also point to a complex sequence of events involving sea ice, which is rapidly diminishing in the Arctic. As the ice retreats, summertime heat is absorbed by the dark ocean that lies underneath. This heat is released into the atmosphere during winter, spurring winds that can disrupt the polar vortex.

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward