A Feb.16 Bloomberg article delved into the somewhat surprising connection between a warming Arctic and the subzero temperatures and widespread blackouts in Texas: “How the Warming Arctic Helped Drive a Deep Freeze Into Texas,” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-16/how-the-warming-arctic-helped-drive-a-deep-freeze-into-texas.
We recently featured a guest commentary by Bob Bunting, CEO of the Climate Adaptation Center (CAC), regarding the polar vortex. Here’s the link: “The Polar Vortex Is Coming to a State Near You!” https://www.cumber.com/cumberland-advisors-guest-commentary-the-polar-vortex-is-coming-to-a-state-near-you/.
As Bob noted, climate change is causing the jet stream to weaken, because the Arctic is warming much faster than the temperate latitudes are. The weakened jet stream fluctuates more widely, at times carrying cold air far southward from the Arctic – the polar vortex effect. We have just had a blast of it in the US.
It may seem counterintuitive when you are sitting in a freezing house without heat or electricity to think that your situation was caused by climate warming. But that is where we are.
Climate change, with overall global warming and more frequent extreme weather events, is a real thing. It is evidenced in many ways, and the polar vortex and killer hurricanes are all part of the package. At Cumberland, we catalogue extreme weather events in relation to the resilience and recovery time of municipalities and their ability to manage their services and debt repayments (for more context, see Patty Healy’s Municipal Credit 2020 and Beyond commentary).
Here’s the Climate Adaptation Center website: https://www.theclimateadaptationcenter.org/.
Thank you to the readers who emailed us about climate issues.