MiamiHerald / Frigid iguanas in Florida. Snowball fights on North Carolina’s beaches. Recent winters have delivered a bitter chill to the Southeast, reinforcing attitudes among some that global warming is a fraud.
But according to a scientific study published this month , the Southeast’s colder winter weather is part of an isolated trend, linked to a more wavy pattern in the jet stream that crosses North America. That dipping jet stream allows artic air to plunge into the Southeast. Scientists call this colder weather a “hole” in overall global warming, or a “warming hole.”
“What we are looking at is an anomaly,” said Jonathan M. Winter, an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth University and the principle investigator in the study. “The Southeast is the exception to the rule.”
Winter and lead author Trevor F. Partridge, a Dartmouth graduate student, say this year’s extreme cold in Southeast could be a product of the warming hole. “It is the same mechanism that causes this bitterly cold air to come down,” said Winter.