Expired News - Is the Polar Vortex back? Sort of... - The Weather Network
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Weather Network meteorologist Monica Vaswani provides an expert analysis on the major pattern shift ahead this week.
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Western Canada

The large ridge is going to bring nothing short of a heat wave to most of British Columbia throughout the week with temperatures well above the seasonal mark. The image below indicates the surface temperature anomaly averaged for the five day period Monday through Saturday. As can be seen, there are some areas of the Interior which could experience temperatures as much as 11 degrees above their normal for this time of year. 

Lytton, B.C. is a great example of this where temperatures may even reach the 40oC mark this coming week. Coastal areas of the province can expect uncomfortably hot conditions as well, but their heat will be accompanied by humidity making temperatures in the high 20s feel more like the mid-30s. This will do nothing to alleviate an already elevated fire risk which will likely worsen through the week. 

Alberta will get their fair share of the heat and slight humidity as well which, coupled with the sunshine, will make for a beautiful week ahead. 

Southern Saskatchewan on the other hand starts the week off cool, but quickly warms up to join the hot and sunny trend in Western Canada. All in all a mainly fair and sunny week ahead but with some regions set to experience intense heat don’t forget to hydrate and limit strenuous activities.

Is it the Polar Vortex?

Social media is abuzz with the revival of the term “Polar Vortex” but is this technically the polar vortex at work? The American Meteorological Society (AMS) in part, defines the Polar Vortex as the following:

"The planetary-scale cyclonic circulation, centered generally in the polar regions, extending from the middle troposphere to the stratosphere."

There a few key points mentioned in that definition:

1. Planetary scale

This indicates a very large feature, on the scale of a few thousand kilometres

2. Extending from the middle troposphere to the stratosphere

The troposphere, where our weather occurs, extends from the surface to about 10 to 12 km in altitude in the mid-latitudes and the stratosphere is located above that. Many of the discrepancies with whether or not this is the true polar vortex stem from what part of the atmosphere this cold air is derived from.

Some meteorologists are claiming that the tropospheric circumpolar vortex is the true culprit since that feature is a region of cold air that exists distinctly in the troposphere. Others would argue that as the AMS states the polar vortex exists in both the stratosphere and the troposphere and that this encroaching area of cold air is simply a piece of the polar vortex, like spokes on a wheel. 

So what does all of this mean? Well it depends on who you ask. Maybe we should just focus on the impacts of this meteorological phenomenon and the effects that it will produce. 

One thing is for sure – we can all agree that this large upper trough will bring unseasonably cold air to the Lower Great Lakes and the US Midwest. 

TUNE IN: We'll have the latest on this pattern change on TV and here on our website.

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