By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Midwest Jan 6 White Out 2014

A NASA satellite captured this Midwest “white out” on Jan. 6, 2014, showing us what the polar vortex and biggest storm of 2014 so far looked like from above Earth. You can make out the Great Lakes, or at least two of them.

Our current blast of extreme cold weather doesn’t seem to fit into the “global warming” story, except that it’s quite likely that the polar vortex visitation is a function of the warming Arctic circle.

Essentially, warmer air over the northern arctic regions forces new wind patterns, in this case, the shift is sustaining a deep dip in the jet stream that crosses North America. The result, well, you’re living it. Kentucky meet Canada. Brrr.

In fact, this phenomenon is no surprise to climate scientists; it’s part of the changing air currents that also are bringing heavy precipitation, deluges even, during all seasons to the US Midwest and Northeast. Hence, this area of the US has been experiencing big snow events and heavy summer storms and flooding.

Read more from Climate Central, which has one of the most complete stories explaining the current polar vortex phenomenon.