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Popular Mechanics: Record Winter cold caused by ‘global warming’

So why is it so cold? It may seem like an easy joke to make a pun about global warming, but actually increasing temperatures are partly to blame. Of course sometimes it justgets cold in winter, but a lot of the extreme weather the Northeast is experiencing right now has to do with climate change.

As the Arctic—and the rest of the globe—gets warmer, these changing temperatures can have an effect on the jet stream, the band of air that travels west to east, typically near the U.S. border with Canada. Normally, it acts like a barrier, keeping cold Arctic air trapped in the northern latitudes and away from most of the people on the East Coast. At least, in theory.

In practice, a warming Arctic strains the jet stream’s ability to keep all that cold polar air locked away in the north. When the jet stream falters, that polar air can make its way south, sometimes as far as the Gulf Coast. And over the next week or so, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.