Study questions explanation for winter’s brutal U.S. cold snap

Nick Davis leads study on connections between stratosphere and troposphere

A new study in Nature Communications challenges a commonly accepted explanation that a "sudden stratospheric warming" caused the unusually cold weather over the U.S. early last year, a view which was widely reported in the media and discussed among scientists at the time.

“The mechanisms for how these layers of the atmosphere interact are probably more nuanced than we’re giving them credit for, and that’s important for making better forecast models,” said NCAR scientist Nicholas Davis, who led the study. “Once you know the mechanism, you can model it better.”

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR’s sponsor, the U.S. Department of Energy, and NOAA. Read more at UCAR News...

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Arctic air spills into the United States on Feb. 9, 2021. Map: Portrait of Nick Davis.
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