A "Textbook" Sudden Stratospheric Warming Event Appears To Be Unfolding

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Dec 24, 2023 - 09:00 PM

Meteorologists on social media channel X are posting weather models about the increasing threat of a so-called sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) over the Arctic, which could unleash wintry weather across the eastern half of the US in the new year. 

"A textbook sudden stratospheric warming event looks to be unfolding," private weather forecaster BAM Weather (BAMWX).

Judah Cohen, Ph.D. and an atmospheric and environmental scientist who studies the polar vortex, told FOX Weather an SSW event takes "about two weeks for the effects of the sudden stratospheric warming to impact our weather." 

Cohen expects that cold air will pour into the Lower 48 in the new year, although the specifics of the event remain uncertain. 

Yale Climate Connections wrote in a recent note, "The odds of a snow-favoring East Coast cold wave will be boosted if a sudden stratospheric warming happens to develop in January." 

"Sudden stratospheric warmings involve a rapid and dramatic rise in temperature — as much as 80 degrees Fahrenheit — within the polar stratosphere, together with a disruption in the stratospheric polar vortex. That disruption typically either splits the vortex or pushes it southward, along with associated Arctic air masses," the weather service ran by Yale Center for Environmental Communication. And it's the splitting of the polar vortex that delivers the blast of Arctic air to the Lower 48 region. 

Cohen posted, "All models now agree on a Polar Vortex stretch. Major warming still possible." 

Meteorologist Mark Margavage said, "The 12z EPS Control run is showing the granddaddy of all Polar Vortex disruptions with a major Sudden Stratospheric Warming Event and split of the PV. This would be the most impactful scenario of the 4 presented today." 

BAMWX forecasts "a **late Jan into Feb** legit winter pattern for the central/eastern US!"

"It appears as if there could be a legitimate risk developing for a mid to late Jan major blast of Arcitic air and stormy weather," BAMWX noted, adding, "Exact timing is still a bit up for grabs but very encouraging if you're a lover of snow and cold." 

"Interest rising for cold lovers in Jan with the polar vortex coming under attack in the next couple of weeks. Possible Sudden Stratospheric Warming?" weather forecasting company MetDesk said. 

The combination of a potential SSW and an El Niño winter in the Mid-Atlantic, which typically leads to wetter-than-usual conditions, might suggest the next major snowstorm is approaching in the new year.