Dec 15, 2015

Record US temperatures are work of El Niño and polar vortex, experts say

United States
by
Alan Yuhas and Oliver Milman
,
Guardian
Cherry blossoms are seen on the street in Washington DC on Tuesday due to the warm weather. Photograph: Bao Dandan/Xinhua Press/Corbis
Cherry blossoms are seen on the street in Washington DC on Tuesday due to the warm weather. Photograph: Bao Dandan/Xinhua Press/Corbis

Meteorologists have blamed El Niño and the polar vortex for record-breaking warm temperatures across the US this week, saying the pair of weather systems will likely keep 2015 warm enough to be the hottest year on record...[Mike Halpert, the deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (Noaa)] ascribes the exceptionally warm weather on the east coast – where Sunday temperatures broke records, hitting 70F (21C) in New York and Philadelphia – to the polar vortex, the same system blamed for numbing the region with cold earlier this year....Climate scientists caution that the fluctuations of the weather – including systems like El Niño and the polar vortex – should not be conflated with climate change, which is the related but separate, long-term warming of the planet.