TRUE OR FALSE. Weather: will a weakening of the polar vortex cause freezing cold in February in France?

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Weather models show a weakening of the polar vortex in early February. Could it reinforce the cold on France? Explanations.

France has fully entered winter since the beginning of the week. It snowed in the South-West, in Paris or in Brittany in particular. This Sunday morning, the frosts were almost generalized in the regions. The weather will remain cold next week at least until Thursday.

Could it be much colder in February? This is the question posed by the media by highlighting the weakening of the polar vortex. The Dispatch make the point.

What is the polar vortex?

The polar vortex is a vast cold zone which is created above the North Pole, at an altitude of about 30 km, in the stratosphere: it is a band between 15 and 50 km above sea level. of our heads. In the heart of winter, strong winds circulate rapidly from west to east and keep the polar vortex in place until spring, explains Meteo France.

Will he really weaken?

A weakening of the stratospheric polar vortex is confirmed by weather forecasters. In this situation, a phenomenon called “sudden stratospheric warming” causes temperatures to rise aloft, alters the circulation of strong winds around the polar vortex, and can move cold air into regions unaccustomed to freezing cold and therefore potentially direction of Europe.

?GFS scenario for early February. Pronounced heating of the stratospheric polar vortex, destabilizing it & increasing the potential for #cold.
Good. The deadline is too far away. Impossible to determine what will happen. It will remain relevant to watch. pic.twitter.com/3BhBqlQkIL

— Guillaume Jauseau (@GJauseau) January 18, 2023

What is planned in February 2023?

Impossible yet to say if an icy cold could rage on France in February. “It is far too early to know which exact part of the hemisphere will be affected by a risk of a cold wave”, indicates the forecaster of Météo France Gaëtan Heymes to The Dispatch. “France is tiny on this scale”.

What are the four-week weather trends?

These weather trends are only an indication. They may be confirmed or invalidated depending on more accurate forecasts. The Weather Channel indicates that the week of January 23 to 29 will be cold with drier weather. From January 30 to February 5, the weather looks calm with a gradual thaw. From February 6, an ocean flow could bring showers with the exception of the Mediterranean and temperatures above normal for the season.

Has this phenomenon ever occurred in the past?

France experienced this situation in February 2012. Extremely cold continental air masses had caused temperatures of – 10°C to – 14°C in several regions, locally down to – 18°C. Days without thaws, including in the South, had occurred with sustained wind and snowfall at low altitudes.

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