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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Scientists Blame Dramatic Weather On Weakening ‘Arctic Fence’

Hundreds of cars are seen stranded on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. (AP)

Hundreds of cars are seen stranded on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. (AP)

Many parts of Europe and the U.S. have seen unusual snowstorms and frigid temperatures for two years in a row. But places like northern Canada and Greenland have seen temperatures that in some months are running 15 to 20 degrees above average.

The reason, some researchers say, is a weakening “vortex,” a kind of atmospheric fence, that normally keeps cold air up north and warmer air south. We speak with Justin Gillis, who covers climate issues for the New York Times, about why the weather world seems to have flipped upside down.


Other stories from Thursday's show
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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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