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Publisher’s ink: Polar vortex is vexing

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From page A4 | January 15, 2014 |

As temperatures plunged below zero last week, people across many parts of the country were forced into survival mode. The report from our older daughter living and working in Chicago was as follows: “It’s so cold outside my eyes hurt.” Not quite sure what this meant so my advice to her was to keep them closed.

Welcome to wintertime in the Windy City.

Sub-zero temperatures with a wind chill of negative 45 degrees forced closures city-wide. Even the polar bear residing at the Lincoln Park Zoo was brought indoors because of the weather. As I recall, the same thing occurred when I lived there in the mid-80s. It’s winter, it snows, it gets cold … it’s Chicago.

In upstate New York back in the old days when a snowstorm approached it was usually met with excitement by youngsters. Knowing a blizzard was on the way that could result in school cancellations was like hitting the lottery. We would listen to weather news updates on the radio while rooting for continued snow outside, hoping to hear our school among the list of area closings.

Last week’s big chill comes from a weather phenomenon known as a “polar vortex.” Sounds like something I watched on late night television on the Sci-Fi channel. I think it was called “Attack Of The Killer Polar Vortex!” Or was it “Frozen Invaders From The Polar Vortex?”

Of course all of us armchair meteorologists know the polar vortex is like an arctic cyclone circulating counterclockwise around the North and South Poles. It’s a jet stream of powerful fast-moving frigid winds. A shift of the North Pole winds brought frigid cold weather farther south than normal. Thus the extreme cold temperatures experienced across most of the nation.

It was actually good timing. Now we know what it’s like for those brave souls living in northern Canada. Pictures of Niagara Falls frozen over shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s not the first time it’s happened and I doubt it’ll be the last.

Despite what climate changers tell you, the North Pole is still colder than … well, let’s just say it’s cold.

And it’s not just the Northern Hemisphere experiencing cold weather. Ask those 50 “passengers” aboard the Russian-owned Carnival Cruise ship Akademik Shokalskiy about icy conditions. Their pleasurable sightseeing junket in Antarctica ended when the ship became stuck in 16 feet of ice. Of course the mainstream media failed to mention they were research scientists on a climate change mission. I guess they thought it best to withhold that bit of news as it may confuse other global warming believers.

They were eventually safely ferried to an Australian ship after being airlifted to a Chinese icebreaker that also became stuck in the ice.

By all accounts it’s remarkable the news media even covered this polar vortex story but when extreme weather results in multiple deaths, it’s hard to avoid. Some folks, including White House staffers, are pointing to global warming as the culprit. It’s due to warmer summertime conditions at the North Pole and a decrease in ice cover they say. Maybe so, but as meteorologists were rattling off the names of cities experiencing historical record low temperatures did anyone hear what the temperature was at the North Pole last week? I didn’t think so.

Something else missing was Al Gore. Remember him? Our very own Father of Global Warming, High Priest of High Temperatures, and the mastermind behind the science fiction documentary “Inconceivable Truth.”

Big Al is missing in action. Perhaps he was one of the “passengers” aboard the S.S. Global Warming stranded at the Antarctica? Or maybe he’s on an island somewhere in the South Pacific performing sea level measurements.

It’s more likely he’s directing a new documentary to be released next year. An appropriate working title of that soon-to-be blockbuster: “Mission Through The Polar Vortex — The Final Meltdown!”

Richard Esposito is publisher of the Mountain Democrat.

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